.Those running Nigeria's Economy not Professionals ― NES

Some economists on Thursday said that unlocking Nigeria’s dead capital in residential real estate, agriculture and driving its export diversification agenda would catalyse the nation’s economic recovery.

They spoke at a webinar organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) on the theme: “2021 Mid-Year Economic & Business Review and Outlook Webinar”.

Dr Andrew Nevin, Partner and Chief Economist, PwC, noted that Nigeria holds as much as $900 billion worth of dead capital in residential real estate and agricultural land with the government’s abandoned property valued at N230 billion.

Nevin added that the country’s housing deficit was pegged at seven million and needed 700,000 units of houses annually to bridge the deficit.

The economist charged the government to harness the power of the diaspora via remittances, drive export growth and diversification through services, build innovation hubs, industrial clusters and improve education to improve a lot of Nigerians.

He added that growth at the subnational levels of the nation must be addressed to tackle the disparities.

“In the view of Africa’s 40 per cent projected population growth chart and Lagos projected as the largest city in the world by 2100, Nigeria’s must find its own development path.

“With Gross Fixed Capital formation at only 19 per cent of Gross Domestic Product, Nigeria needs significant Foreign Direct Investment to bridge infrastructure deficit key to diversification.

” The exchange rate, fuel subsidy and power sector need total structural and policy reforms as they are largely distorted. There is also a need to move the informal sector to the formal sector,” he said.

Also, Mr Taiwo Oyedele, Fiscal Policy Partner and Africa Tax Leader, PwC, noted that the pandemic had accelerated digital transformation and the need to invest in talent management.

Oyedele said that foreign exchange liquidity, economic recovery in the second quarter of the year would drive monetary policy direction and financial market performance.

He noted that rising debts and revenue challenges, coupled with the pandemic effect on economic growth would intensify the government’s focus on tax compliance and revenue mobilisation.

“CEOs are concerned about threats in the external environment such as challenges of policy and tax uncertainty, overregulation. amongst others.

“Fifty-four per cent of the CEOs are also concerned about cybersecurity up significantly by 38 per cent from last year.

“Now is the time for business leaders to drive growth from new possibilities, take action, transform and build forward better, and adopt leadership agenda to take on tomorrow,” he said.

Mrs Toki Mabogunje, President, LCCI, projected fragile economic recovery for the second quarter amidst sluggish sectoral performances from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses.

Mabogunje anchored the projections on sustained oil prices, progress in vaccination and gradual implementation of reforms in the oil sector.

She, however, noted that factors such as lingering foreign exchange problems, absence to follow through on critical reforms and insecurity may hinder the projections.

“The blend of fiscal and monetary policies is much needed for the expected economic recovery.

“We must find ways to mitigate risks, highlight investments opportunities and how these opportunities can be leveraged upon to improve the Nigerian economy,” she said.

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