By Sade Adewale,
& Jimoh Ahmed.
Nigeria will continue to face unprecedented economic hardship if the government fails to invest massively in agriculture and return the country to a producing nation rather than a consuming one.
Economic experts who gave the caution in separate interviews with The Hope said the present economic policies of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, dictated by IMF lacked the capacity and ability to address Nigeria’s financial and economic problems.
Apart from this, the experts said government should make Nigeria an economic viable nation and not be dependent on any nation or World Bank advice for survival and by that the naira will add value.
Dr Sunday Adegboro, Acting Head of Department of the Human Kinetics and Health Education Department, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko said IMF policies cannot work for Nigeria because of wrong leadership.
According to him, most of the people who are working with President Tinubu have no clear cut vision for the country as they are corrupt minded.
“The present economic policies cannot work for the country because of wrong leadership. What we have in Nigeria today are leaders with no clear cut vision for the country, they are selfish. This is the reason all the policies are failing us. They are making gains for themselves and their cronies.”
“President Tinubu must have the political will to deal with this if he intends to succeed.”
Adegboro, however, suggested that the country need to go back to regional economic autonomy as a way out.
According to him, when regions (states) are left to develop at their own pace, there will be economic rivalry that will spur up development of the entire country.
“Tinubu should have the political will to bring back regional autonomy. He should give the regions or states the economic autonomy. Let the West continue to build itself, the East and likewise other regions develop at their own pace. Then there will be economic rivalry. There will be competition, the West will not want to lag behind, same with the East, the North Central and other regions.”
“It is then you will see production coming up. You will see new ideas and innovations and the different regions will begin to progress positively.
“Nigeria will still remain Nigeria. At the end, all the regions will contribute to the centre. The naira will then move up, it will become so strengthened that the dollar will pursue it. The issue of banditry in the North will be a thing of the past because those in the authority know they can no longer expect handouts from the central government’s purse.”
“We should change our orientation from being dependent economy. Right now, Nigeria is largely dependent on other economies to survive. We only wait for what are being produced in other countries to live. This is seriously affecting our economy. We should produce for other countries to buy and in that wise our foreign exchange will improve.”
“Look at Russia when the whole world isolated her, it was able to survive because it is not largely a dependent country, this is what Nigeria should do, he added.”
He posited that the attitude of the government to education in Nigeria today has completely brought the sector down and this has contributed largely to the country’s economic quagmire.
He equally called for the nation’s refineries to be revived and made to function optimally so that the price of fuel and other related products could come down.
An economist, Dr Bankole Adetosoye suggested that Federal Government should embark on an aggressive industrialization drive, which will enable us to convert raw materials produced to finished products through a meaningful and effective value chain system.
Adetosoye also agreed that the economic policies put in place are those dictated to us by the IMF.
He said unfortunately, “the policies are not suitable for our economy at all, because the fundamentals that propel our economy are never the same as those anticipated by the IMF. For example, if our economy is export-driven, the poorer the value of the Naira, the better for our economy.
“This is because of the high value of the dollar, which our exported products will attract into our foreign reserve, which is depleting rapidly.
“We got this thing wrong, the very day we agreed our Naira was over-valued; we now subscribed to devaluation.
“The government should syndicate interest-free loans for SMEs, with a moratorium of one full year being a period of rest, within which repayment would not be made,” he noted.
A Senior Lecturer at the Department of Economics, Bamidele Olumilua University of Science and Education, Ikere-Ekiti (BOUESTI ) Dr Ajayi Aribigbola, suggested the need for the government at all levels to focus more attention on the development of agriculture.
He noted that only through this, several problems confronting the country could be addressed, the explained that apart from and the problem of youth unemployment that has become rampant will be gradually solved.
“For example, I was reading in a newspaper today that Nigeria was listed among the country that would experience hunger in the coming year, so the government need to do everything by developing agriculture, in order to tackle this particular problem” he stated.
Also, a lecturer at the Department of Business Administration, Ekiti State University EKSU, Ado-Ekiti, Mr Olatoye Olaniyan, said the only economic master plan that could bail Nigeria out of these problems, is to focus more attention on the development of small scale Industries, saying through this, the youth, especially those at the grassroots will be gainfully employed.
He equally suggested the need for the government to focus on the development of electricity, saying that through this, Industries located at the rural areas would also survive and thereby solve the problems confronting the country.