Opening the 28th Nigeria Economic Summit Group [NESG] in Abuja with the Summit theme “2023 & Beyond: Priorities for Shared Prosperity”, President Muhammadu Buhari remarked that the country’s revenue issues are escalating the country’s debt situation, prompting the need to boost earnings and ease of doing business. He further stated that while the country’s debt service to revenue ratio is undeniably high, boosting revenues should now occupy the majority of the government’s attention. However, on the other hand, he emphasized that the country is already seeing real benefits from non-oil revenues while stressing that the government should now concentrate more on productivity and value creation.
Further, he affirmed that the Summit theme encourages stakeholders to consider what the nation’s priorities should be to achieve inclusive prosperity beginning in 2023 and beyond. He added that this is a crucial question in light of the terrifying headwinds of the last three years and the arising local and global trends that will undoubtedly determine the future. Pres. Buhari, who was represented by Vice President Prof. Yemi Osibanjo, said that productivity and adding value means making measurable value, jobs, and opportunities, as well as more tax revenue. To enhance productivity, he said Nigeria must open up its business environment, fix its ports, implement a single national window, restructure its customs procedures and tariff codes to eliminate delays and arbitrariness and remove unnecessary import restrictions to enable value-added operations.
Nigeria must improve and facilitate local and international trade.
According to the President, the country’s system for determining exchange rates continues to be a source of concern; therefore, the conversation they need, is about how to best manage the situation by locating a mechanism for raising supply and restraining demand transparent and will increase confidence. He added that the government had made some efforts in the past, like the Retail Dutch Auction System, Interbank Foreign Exchange Market, and the Wholesale Dutch Auction System; however, these efforts weren’t perfect, but the rules were evident, and the disparity between the official market and the parallel market wasn’t as big as it could have been.
Furthermore, He said the point is that there should be some component of price determination in the policy environment to promote confidence and increase foreign exchange inflows. They will also need immediate action to reduce inflation, which is both a burden on the poor and a hindrance to long-term progress. According to him, inflation in Nigeria is partially fundamental due to infrastructural inadequacies, but there is also an element caused by imported inflation, high money supply, and currency depreciation. However, alongside the monetary measures being implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria, the country would need to expand domestic food production and ensure that it reaches the market.
Democratic and rule-based governance systems will improve Nigeria – Dozie.
Mr. Pascal Dozie, a Keynote Speaker at the summit, outlined several more effective approaches to establish an agenda for future leaders in the year 2023 and beyond and, in the end, achieve the Nigeria that we have dreamed of. Mr. Dozie, who also is a founding partner of the NESG, stated that the country would do well to acknowledge that democratically constituted and rule-based government systems are more durable than dictatorships and that the nation’s founding fathers decided for an independent Nigeria to become a secular state and a true federation for good reasons.
Also, Dr. Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, stated in her own address that the federal government is developing a strategy to ensure that country’s GDP per capita increases to $33,000 by 2050. The Minister stated that the Nigeria Agenda 2050 plan would position Nigeria in the category of Upper Middle-Income Nations. She stated that the strategy would be carried out by succeeding governments utilizing this five-year medium term national plans for development and annual budgets. It is a moral obligation for the Nigeria Agenda 2050 to drastically reduce poverty and unemployment, as it is the only method for achieving sustainable broad-based growth.
Revival in Nigeria requires extra effort and new ways of thinking.
Moreover, the Chairman of the Board of the NESG, Mr. Asue Ighodalo, also pointed out in his opening address that Nigeria is going through very difficult times and that the country’s citizens must work hard to overcome these challenges. According to him, the country needs to work harder than we ever have before, take a different view, and then need to agree on innovative and practical ideas that, if adopted, will initiate the national resurrection and pull everybody out of the current predicament.