The formation of an Economic Advisory Council recently announced by the Presidency is commendable. It is high time we started putting round pegs in round holes for the growth of our nation.
However, a check on the profiles of the eight members of the team showed that they are technocrats with only economics background, except for Dr Iyabo Masha who had political science added to hers. In as much as this team is good for our nation at a time like this, I think it can still be excellent. How do I mean?
As a nation, we must be pragmatic in getting out of our economic doldrums, just as the Asian Tigers did, and their economies are getting better. In order to improve our economy, our government has tried several interventions in almost every sector of our economy viz-a-viz agricultural, manufacturing, banking etc., but we have yet to get the needed results. And to be candid with ourselves, things are not getting better as of now.
An important sector of the economy we have always neglected in Nigeria when formulating our fiscal and monetary policies is the construction/real estate sector. In other climes such as America, it is their real estate sector through mortgages that drive their economies, and sometimes dictate what happens in the other sectors of their economy. Similarly, policymakers in the United Arab Emirates do consider the effects of their policies on their real estate market before making any national policies. Nigeria should not be different.
The country’s housing deficits coupled with our increasing population ought to have been a blessing in disguise, if our national policies are properly formulated. For instance, if our policies are formulated towards providing affordable mortgages, Nigeria will soon become a construction hub with many multiplier effects. Such benefits include job opportunities for the bankers, the food vendors at the sites, producers of building materials will equally employ people, let alone other skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled labours that will be directly or indirectly involved in the construction works.
As we all know that mortgage has a lot to do with land in terms of accessibility, affordability, market demands and supplies etc., I wonder if natural economists only as we have in the Economic Advisory Council will have better knowledge than real estate technocrats that are familiar with the intrigues in land related matters in Nigeria. We shouldn’t be ignorant of the fact that Nigeria is a peculiar nation that can defy all laws of economics; hence having experience of our peculiar environments is key. Therefore, it will not be out of place if a Land Economist, a technocrat in Nigeria’s real estate sector, can be added to the Economic Advisory Council for excellent performance.
As a country, I am of the view that it is high time we gave this sector a critical role to play in sharpening our economy. For more on the impact of monetary policies on Nigeria’s real estate market, please see my article published in the Central Bank of Nigeria Journal-Bullion, Vol. 42, No.3, July-Sept., 2018.
Department of Estate Management, University of Ibadan, Ibadan [email protected]