By Tony EDIKE
Renowned economist,Professor Nnaemeka Ikpeze Â Â Â has warned that unless a serious approach was adopted in ddressing some critical challenges facing the nationâ€™s economy, nothing would be achieved even after the year 2020.
Nweze who is a senior lecturer in the Department of Economics, University of Nigeria (UNN), Nsukka noted that no matter the enormity of the challenges facing the nation, once the right things were done, the economy would move faster than other developed economies in the world.
Delivering a paper entitled â€œA critical review of the Nigerian Economy _ Implications for Developmentâ€ at the first business platform organized by the Enugu Chamber of Commerce Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA) in Enugu, Prof Ikpeze advised the federal government to consider power and transportation as important tools for the development of the real sectors of the economy.
He stated that the imperative of success are the will and resolute commitment of the leadership, the continuous striving for excellence and ability to meet international standards.
â€œThere is a need to prioritize on a few of the most critical areas which continue to plague our effort at engendering meaningful economic growth and development. Some of these critical sectors include power, infrastructure, security, generation of employment and business opportunities for the teeming young men and women,â€ he noted.
Ikpeze also asked the government to take a closer look at the budgeting process with a view to finding out why it had continued to fail in Nigeria , whereas it had remained an instrument of short term economic growth in many countries of the world. He said once the budgeting process was got right, the nation would be able to tackle an appreciable percentage of its economic challenges.
The University don however commended the ongoing reform in the banking sector, advising the Central Bank to continue with the initiative with greater vigour and commitment to ensure that banks were restored as critical factors in the revitalisation process. He was of the view that both money and capital markets had high linkage effects to other sectors of the economy especially the manufacturing sector.
Earlier in his welcome address, the President of ECCIMA, Prince Okechukwu Nwadinobi said the essence of the business platform was to effectively equip their members and other stakeholders with the vital information on the nationâ€™s economy and the roles of the Chambers of Commerce in reviving â€œour depressed economyâ€.
He stated that it was the desire of ECCIMA leaders and stakeholders to redirect their energies and thoughts from complaining about Nigeria to looking inwards to rediscover themselves as a people adding â€œif our track records show that we excelled in our different endeavours at some time in our history as Ndi_Igbo, it means we can do it again.
â€œNdi_Igbo in those days set their targets far beyond Nigerian standards and were respected and acclaimed as achievers worldwide. So, what went wrong? What aspect of our existence should attract the greatest attention? We think all our efforts should focus on our economy. Our politics, our planning as a people and all other key activities should be economy_drivenâ€.
He noted that as leaders of the organised private sector, ECCIMA had decided to initiate a chain reaction that would pull along all other Chambers in the south east to be part of the plan aimed at assisting the people discover their place in building a strong economy.