Nigeria’s general election has just been concluded and now, the elected officials will be looking to improve the state of affairs once their administration commences. The generation of income revenue is one area that has witnessed immense dilapidation over the years and the new government would be expected to change this situation. Mr. Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde, the Director General of the Nigerian Employers’ Consultative Association has in an interview, weighed in on this national challenge.
On the measures that the incoming administration can put in place to further improve the economic condition, he noted that fundamental issues like the fiscal and monetary policies, explaining that this could not be overemphasized, as it was the bedrock on which most structures have been built. He noted that the problem that has ravaged the country over the last eight years was a deliberate misalignment in context of the fiscal and monetary policies and if this situation is not improved, it automatically affect the entire economy. Also, the issue of revenue for the government was indicated. Oyerinde stated that while we were one of the biggest exporter of oil in Africa, our capacity to meet the quota of OPEC has been compromised by factors like oil theft that have consequently affected the economy.
Bad economy due to the cross purposes of fiscal and monetary authorities.
He indicated that it was impossible to execute monetary policy without deliberately aligning the fiscal policy, pointing out that the country had faced numerous economic challenges recently as a result of the cross purposes of the fiscal and monetary authorities. In curbing this situation, Oyerinde stated that it boiled down to the incoming president’s appointment of the Minister of Finance and CBN Governor. He further explained that the fiscal and monetary authorities must complement themselves in a bid to help the incoming president achieve his economic objectives.
When asked about his position on the enacted Naira redesign policy which has resulted in a major cash crunch across the country, and the best solution in resolving this huge controversy, Oyerinde said that with the drivers of the cashless policy such as the online banking system, money agents and POS, it was imperative for the government to work on audits for ascertaining the sufficiency of the present online systems in working for all Nigerians at the same time. He admitted that although the policy was a laudable one, the sensitization process could have been better handled.
Health and Education disclosed as foreign exchange leakages in Nigeria.
As an effect of the harsh cash redesign situation, Oyerinde admitted that numerous businesses had gone into extinction. According to him, many startups had crashed in the MSMEs industry as a result of the policy. The NECA Director General again indicated that inclusive participation in the economy was a significant measure of ensuring immense development in the economic industry. This inclusiveness, he said, must commence with the stakeholders’ inputs in the policy formulation process, as it would be significant for building national consensus.
It was disclosed that the foreign exchange leakages in Nigeria included health and education. These institutions, Oyerinde explained, were the biggest consumers of foreign exchange. Thus, he said there was a need to review the educational system and reduce the propensity for Nigerians traveling abroad to study. On the issue of power supply, he said it was a multidimensional challenge and urged the government to make efforts to salvaging the challenge, as no country could experience overt development without adequate power supply.
Government must focus on technical training to maximally curb corruption.
Oyerinde criticized the government for their failure at managing refineries and waiting for the Dangote Refinery to commence its operations. He stated that while the Ukraine-Russia conflict had caused an increase in the prices of crude oil and many OPEC countries were massively cashing in on this development, Nigeria was losing its gains to subsidy. On enhancing productivity for the creation of employment, it was disclosed that NECA was working to mitigate this challenge through the establishment of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF)/NECA Skill Development Project. Director urged the government to improve its focus on technical and vocational trainings, as it would help in maximally curb unemployment.