16th January, 2018
The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria and some financial analysts on Tuesday said the Federal Government must strengthen the non-oil sector to prevent sliding into economic recession again.
They gave the advice at the Fourth Economic Outlook on Tuesday in Lagos, noting that the economy was still fragile.
The theme of the outlook was “Implications for Businesses in Nigeria in 2018”.
The event was organised to review Nigeria’s economy in 2017 and chart the way forward.
The CIBN Centre for Financial Study (CIBNCFS) held the programme in conjunction with Biodun Adedipe Associates Ltd. (BAA).
The CIBN President, Prof. Olusegun Ajibola said that Nigeria’s economy in 2017 could be adjudged successful considering the manner the country weathered economic storms.
Ajibola said: “After five consecutive quarters of contractions, the country rebounded from recession with approximately 0.6 percent growth recorded in the second quarter of 2017.
“Inflation dropped from its peak of 18.72 percent in January 2017 to the current value of 15.98 percent, the lowest rate in 16 months.”
He said that there was a triumph for small and medium businesses as Movable Assets Bill was signed into law, adding that the Credit Reporting Bill also passed in 2017 was a step in the right direction.
“These developments contributed to Nigeria’s jump by 24 places from 169th to 145th position on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report for 2018.
“On the global stage, we witnessed the rise in prices of crude oil from an average of approximately $41 per barrel in 2016 to approximately $52 per barrel.
“Consequently, Nigeria’s foreign reserves currently stand at over $40 billion, ” he said.
Ajibola, however, said that although there were notable achievements in the past year, the high unemployment rate which rose from 14.2 to 18 percent in 2017 should be addressed.
He urged Federal Government to improve electricity generation and distribution, give enabling an environment for businesses to thrive to yield the desired results.
“It would not be misplaced to categorically state that a state of emergency should be declared on security, particularly between farmers and Fulani herdsmen.
“This is needed in order not to scare away foreign investors from prominent economic hubs of the nation,” he added.
The Chief Consultant of BAA, Mr Adeoye, cautioned the Federal Government against overconfidence in crude oil production.
He also said that strong measures should be in place to guard against the collapse of the capital market.
He said: “Investors are trooping into the country because of the positive economic indicators of 2017.
“This is a year of elections, there will be much money in the circulation.
“However, foreign investors may withdraw investments in the capital market before elections for fear of the unknown.
“It happened in 2008, ” he said
Mr Mike Olajide, Executive Director, Sidmach Technologies Ltd., said the Federal Government should give attention to technology development.
He said the country would need modern technologies that could facilitate generation of reliable data to develop right policies to tackle problems.
“For instance, only 500 out 1,700,000 pupils that graduated from secondary schools yearly advanced.
“Did this problem developed overnight? Isn’t the remaining 1,200,000 a challenge to national security?.
“Only 30,000,000 out of 90,000,000 bankable Nigerians use banks. The herdsmen, market men and women still keep money under the pillows.
“We need technology to reach them,” he said.