The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) said Nigeria is rapidly consolidating its recovery from the pandemic-induced recession, but the pre-COVID-19 narrative of poor inclusiveness and macroeconomic instability still persists.
Despite a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 3.2 per cent in the first three quarters of 2021, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show that average prices of goods and services were high; trade balance remained in deficit and foreign investment inflow was constrained in the year.
The World Bank estimated that an additional eight million Nigerians fell into poverty between 2020 and 2021 due to lower purchasing power. Although Nigeria’s potential is enormous, job creation across sectors has been lagging, resulting in an increase in unemployed individuals.
While there is considerable improvement in some areas, such as the mobilisation of non-oil revenue in the last few years, one thing is clear: Nigeria cannot afford to continue with its business-as-usual approach in policymaking and execution. The heightened insecurity and social vices in several parts of the country is proof that when some segments of the population are left behind, it will not only offset the few gains made prior to COVID-19 but will also deprive the country of much-needed investments that are needed to ensure sustainable growth and development.
The challenges associated with insecurity, rising prices, unemployment, and lower investments intensify the need for reforms that will lead the country to substantial economic progress and improved social inclusion. This will ensure that businesses and citizens constitute the core of government policies and actions.