Boiling Point: Experts suggest ways to reverse bad shape of Nigerian economy

*Make case for local production, export diversification

Panelists on the popular current affairs programme, BOILING POINT ARENA, have said that incessant monetary policy changes by the Federal Government without factoring local production will only continue to worsen Nigeria’s economy.

This was the consensus of opinion by prominent corporate finance experts and economic development specialists, who dissected the topic “The current state of Nigeria’s economy: Can Nigerians breathe and survive”, during the ninth series of the Boiling Point media discourse programme.

The panelists are corporate finance expert, Dr Biodun Adedipe; economic development specialist and former Finance Commissioner in Ogun State, Mr Kehinde Sogunle; and an economist/finance expert, Mr Paul Alaje.

They painted a grim picture of likely negative consequences of recent policy changes devolving from subsidy removal and unification of the foreign exchange market as they warned that the economy might collapse unless desperate efforts were made to intentionally increase local production with more exports.

Speaking on how Nigeria got into the present economic state, Alaje noted that the successive economic policies of various governments over the past years contributed largely to the parlous state of the country’s current economic downturn.

The economist said, “Nigerians are beng punished for our economic sins. We got here because of wrong choices, we got to this point because many of our people are not asking questions and are thinking that things will soon get better.

“We need to make correct economic decisions for us to be forgiven. Nigeria should make policy that we should be producing some of the things we are importing. We have to multiply our export. There is no two way to it.

“What Nigeria needs is a structural solution, not a financial solution. These policies should go beyond monetary. Our economic decisions are not just not right, making policies that further devalue our naira and the so-called Unification.”

Also speaking, Sogunle submitted that Nigerians must study community economics which means engaging in government to create strategies for penetrating for penetrating the international market.

The former finance commissioner, said, “The logic is that unless we approach the fundamental which is increasing our local production and to create trade balance, all this monetary approach will not work.

“All that government is doing now is playing a global economic game which we can’t play with them. It will always fail. Price is a function of demand and supply.

“First of all, we need to moderate our tastes as Nigerians. No local tastes anymore but everything is foreign and all these are putting a lot of pressure on our taste. Unless we can change our style in consumption. Food is number one. clothing is number two. If you check what people are wearing and eating. You will be alarmed.”

Speaking on the way out, Sogunle said what has further compounded our problem as a nation is the absence of think-thanks who should do convergence, giving the realities and forging directions.

On his part, Dr Adedipe, while aligning with Mr Sogunle, opined that the different communities and local government areas will need to have policy anchors which they will be noted for.

The investment banker and financial consultant, said, “We will need to have policy anchors and build different economic clusters in different communities and thereby creating jobs. Each community or local government must have something they are adding economically. This is what will aggregate to the state and the country at large”, he argued.

Adedipe also called for a global strategy that will factor Nigeria competing in the areas of comparative advantage based on the peculiar natural endowments in the country.

The interview discourse was chaired by a traditional ruler, the Olowu of Owu Kingdom, Oba Prof Saka Matemilola, who enjoined eminent financial experts to pool their ideas together and collectively suggest sound economic policies capable of bringing Nigeria out of the woods for government.

Speaking while delivering a vote of thanks, the Initiator and Convener of BOILING POINT ARENA, Mr Ayo Arowojolu, a seasoned media professional, emphasized that the task of revamping the country’s economy is a task for all and should not be left alone to government.

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