By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—ECONOMIC experts at the National Assembly Business Environment Roundtable, NASSBER, yesterday raised alarm that Nigeria might not get out of the presence economic recession with the present inflation rate.
The experts, who lamented the nation’s infrastructure deficit emanating from gross, inadequate funding by government at all levels, however, declared that Nigeria need N31 trillion annually for infrastructure spending, against less than N5 trillion being currently spent by government across the three tiers.
The economic experts also said that Nigeria might be heading for doom as far as inclusive growth and development were concerned, if the needed enabling environment was not given to the private sector to drive the economy.
They added that the present economic growth was at its lowest ebb going by available indices.
The experts made these submissions at NASSBER organised by the National Assembly, in collaboration with the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, Nigerian Bar Association Section Business Law; and the Department for International Development, DFID.
In his key note address on the occasion, titled “Exploring the Contribution and Impact of NASSBER to business and the Nigerian Economy”, Dr Doyin Salami said NASSBER should be based on realities on ground.
As well as concentrate on infrastructure legislation in a way that would give the private sector the leverage to drive the process of economic growth and development in the country.
According to him, the public sector is already overwhelmed with attendant infrastructure deficit and low development index generally.
He said: “Government cannot, on its own, fund infrastructure. Available statistics revealed that Nigeria needs $100bn or N31trillion on yearly basis to fund infrastructure, against the N3trillion to N5trillion being spent by government across the three tiers on yearly basis with attendant infrastructural deficit, high rate of employment and other worrying indices like over 17% inflation rate.
“Others are Nigeria’s low ranking in Human Development Index across the globe, which is 152 and 169 in business indices in terms of ease of doing business aside ranking 158 in global competitiveness.”
According to him, though government officials at one time or the other, do come out to declare that the country’s economy is growing, but what they always fail to realize is that the factors of growth is not the same as development and also not the same as inclusiveness, which makes such growth not reflecting in the welfare condition of the people.
Salami, who urged the the federal lawmakers to ensure that laws or legislation made by them impacted positively on ordinary Nigerians, said: “NASSBER should not just be about legislation but about impacts of such legislation on the people and in this wise, until we see improvement in the lives of our Nigerians, NASSBER cannot be said to have achieved its aim.”
In his goodwill message, the representative of Country Head, Department for International Development, DFID, Mr. Richard Hope, said that Nigeria must make the private sector the engine room of its economic growth and development.