Some economists in the North-East have urged the Federal Government to formulate effective fiscal and monetary policies to prevent Nigeria from sliding into recession.
The experts including academics and financial analysts said the measure was imperative towards building a vibrant economy and sustain the gains recorded in the agriculture sector which enabled the country to withstand current global recession.
The experts spoke while responding to a survey by The Tide source on global economic recession in Bauchi, Damaturu, Gombe, Maiduguri and Yola.
Recession is a period of persistent economic downturn or low level of productivity.
Dr Binta Yahaya, an economist in Damaturu, Yobe, said several factors indicated that the world is sliding into recession.
She said, “in the UK and the U.S., rapid decline in productivity and high inflation rates have been reported.
“In Nigeria, there is too much money in circulation with low productivity level.
“Inflation is characterised by low per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The GDP drops for two consecutive quarters and may last for about 10 months”.
She suggested that fiscal and monetary policies which might not have immediate benefits must be formulated to control recession.
The expert said such policies and plans must envisage natural disasters such as floods and pandemics, adding that over reliance on importation must be checked.
Yahaya noted that failure to properly manage recession would lead to low wages, high unemployment rate and borrowing.
“If you look at the current debt profile and ratio in the country, it is alarming and can lead to more recessions in the future,” she warned.
Yahaya, however, noted that all economies experience recession from time to time, but what matters is the ability to adapt through effective plans and policies.
Prof. Ibrahim Hassan, Department of Economics, Modibbo Adama University (MAU), said the Russia-Ukraine war subjected many countries to recession.
According to him, the disruption in the global food and energy supply chain, low production and the loss of investors’ confidence exposed many economies to recession.
He noted that investors were withdrawing their potfolios due to the crisis which negatively affected world economy.
“In this country; we are battling with inflation which has to do with dwindling oil revenue and lack of stable prices in the international oil market.
“Presently; there is crisis in currency market and it is responsible for the hike in prices of food commodities,” he said, stressing that proactive measures are necessary to guard against plunging the country into recession.
He urged government to improve oil and energy supply to meet increasing demands, encourage productivity and boost its revenue base.
Also, Jorome Jaimu, a lecturer, Department of Economies, Adamawa State Polytechnic, Yola, said the redesigning of the Naira note would affect the economy and escalate pressure on the Foreign Exchange (FOREX) in the country.
“This will not be good for the economy of the country at the moment.
“However, people are bringing out hoarded Naira notes printed since 2015. So, in other away it is going to help the economy,”
Similarly, Alhaji Babagana, a Senior Lecturer, Borno State University, Maiduguri, opined that insecurity and oil vandalism posed serious threat to sustainable economic growth in the country.
The trend, he said, resulted to comatose economy and investment constrained, low productivity unemployment and poverty.
The don listed inflation; rising energy costs, FOREX scarcity, and Naira depreciation as factors bleeding the Nigerian economy.
In the same vein, Mr Usman Dutse, Dean, School of Business, Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi, said the trend exposed Nigeria’s economy to frigile condition as major economic indicators showed negative signs.
“Unemployment rate has increased to about 33.3 per cent and inflationary rate 20.7 per cent with N41 trillion debt profile.
“Poverty level has increased between 43 and 46 per cent and Naira is trading N850 to a dollar at parallel market.
“The cost of living has gone up and cost of production is also high,” he said.
To salvage the situation, Dutse advocated a consistent economic policies, reforms and plans by the government.
“All these things are happening because of the persistent neglect or lack of consistency in implementation of policies.
“There should be serious reform and attitudinal change from individuals, organisations and government agencies,” he said.
Corroborating the stance, Dr Mustapha Kabara, a Lecturer, Department of Economics and Development Studies, Federal University Kashere (FUK), Gombe, advocated austerity measures to cut domestic spending and ensure policy continuity to avert recession in the country.
This, he said, are part of the short term measures to improve the economy by ensuring effective control of the government’s spending.
According to him, with the dwindling income as a result of the different factors affecting oil production, it became imperative for the government to take adequate financial measures to avert recession.
“It is also imperative for the government to ensure harmonisation of fiscal and monetary policies.
“Unfortunately, what we have is a vibrant and strong monetary policy but the fiscal policy is not working.
“Government should come up with a good synergy between monetary and fiscal policy so that the policy will be able to touch positively the demand and the supply side,” he said.
In the long run, Kabara said as the country prepares for election, it was desirable to ensure continuation of good policies of the incumbent administration for sustainable social and economic development.
“Inherited policy that are good can be fine-tune but not to be discarded as creating new ones is not healthy for the country, especially in an emerging economy like ours”.
He, therefore, suggested implementation of consistent policies, reforms and plans by the government.
For his part, Dr Abdulmajid Jamal, observed that Nigeria is moving towards self sustained economy in terms of food production.
According to him, with the country moving towards self-sufficiency in food production, it wasn’t going into recession anytime soon.
Jamal, who is a Chief Lecturer, Economic Department, School of General Studies, Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic (ATAP), Bauchi, decried heavy dependence of the country on importation of many items.
He said: “We are lucky becasue food is excluded from our importation. In most cases, we only import few things in food items.
“The major import that consumes our money was rice and now the economy is producing enough for local consumption. The import is far less even though it’s through smuggling.
“So, the country is moving towards self sustained economy in terms of food production but in terms of other things, we are not.
“We are moving towards food sufficiency but if care is not taken, we will lose that because the farmers are now heavily in use of herbicides, insecticides and chemicals”.
He noted that heavy application of chemicals would deteriorate soil fertility and make it barren not to produce effectively.
The practice, he said, contributed to global warming, devastating effects on the ecosystem and low production output.
He further attributed the inflation in the country to importation of raw materials for manufacturing industries due to high FOREX.
FG Mulls Introduction Of Private Firefighters
The Federal Government says it is proposing to broaden the scope of the National Fire Academy to accommodate private firefighters to address fire incidents across the country.
The plan, if carried out, would lead to the emergence of private firefighters in the country.
Speaking after his first official inspection tour of the academy, the Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, said the fire service could have certified private firefighters like the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps’ private guards.
He added that private firefighters were needed to enhance the fire service’s operations as well as improve their response time.
This was contained in a statement by the Minister’s Media Adviser, Alao Babatunde, yesterday.
The statement partly read, “Today, we have over 3 million private guards certified by the NSCDC. We can have something similar for the fire service. We need private fire service men to enhance our service and response time. The President’s #RenewedHope agenda has charged us to be innovative if we must change the narrative.
“As a matter of fact, this is another innovative way to generate revenue because we expect that anyone looking to become a safety or security guard should get trained and certified by this academy.”
Tunji-Ojo urged all institutions and recreation centres to engage certified fire and safety personnel trained by the academy when the plan materialises.
He said: “A lot has been done, but there is still a lot more to be done. With what I have seen here, I can guarantee you that we will work very hard to see that this facility will not only be useful in training officers of the fire service but also for the private sector.
“We must make fire safety a personal affair. Every institution, commercial and social recreation centre should have certified fire and safety personnel, trained by this facility.
“All public and commercial buildings and infrastructure such as banks, hotels, malls, restaurants, or even government buildings should have first responders that can administer basic fire fighting remedy while waiting for the arrival of a full operation squad of the country’s Fire Service”.
Decentralise Pipeline Surveillance Contracts, Ondo Ex-Militants Urge Tinubu
A group of ex-militants in Ondo State, on Wednesday, called on President Bola Tinubu to revisit the pipeline surveillance project and decentralise the awarding of the contract.
The group, under the auspices of the Ondo State Niger Delta Coastal Vanguard, said decentralisation of the contract would enhance the security of pipelines on waterways.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Public Relations Officer of the group, Chief Lucky Ajiroba.
The statement is titled, ‘Call on His Excellency President Bola Tinubu to re-visit the pipeline surveillance contract.’
The group faulted the last administration for awarding the contract to only one company, saying the purpose for which the contract was awarded was not achieved as the security situation of the pipelines was getting worse.
The statement read, “We are the members of Ondo State Niger Delta Coastal Vanguard. The group led by Akogun Job Omotuwa comprises ex-militants in the state who voluntarily submitted their arms and ammunition in response to the good gesture of the Federal Government of Nigeria under the amnesty programme in the year 2017, and we have shown our unwavering allegiance to the terms of the amnesty initiative of the government.
“The overall effects of all these are: it has increased considerably the quantum of oil production, it has substantially increased the revenue accruable to the Federation account, and ultimately it allows peaceful coexistence among the people of the oil-producing communities of the country.
“We are aware of the sterling enterprise of this administration to improve on the security architecture of the Nigeria state and all its apparatus, with a particular reference to the pipeline surveillance and secured waterways.
“The last administration made a giant stride by awarding the pipeline surveillance to a sole company in the Niger Delta Area. It is not out of place to state that the purpose upon which the contract was awarded for was not achieved as the situation of the security of the pipeline was worse than ever before since their collaborative effort was not enough to support the constituted military authorities.
“The failure of this was ascribed to the centralization of the contract. In view of this perennial failure, there has been avalanche of agitation from every quarter that the pipeline security contract should be decentralized for the purpose of achieving the desired goal of the Federal Government which is in the best interest of the entire citizens.”
The group, which commended the President for its efforts in repositioning the country’s economy, opined that each ex-militant leader in the Niger Delta Region be identified, and the pipeline security contract be split among them.
Assembly Tasks Delta Govt On Rising Prostitution, Drug Abuse
The Delta House of Assembly has passed a resolution urging the State Government to take drastic measures against rising cases of drug abuse and prostitution in the state.
This followed the adoption of a motion by Mrs Bridget Anyafulu (PDP-Oshimili South) at plenary in Asaba.
Presenting the motion, Anyafulu decried rising cases of open sex trade and use of illicit drugs among youths in the state, especially in Asaba and environs.
“Open sex trade and use of illicit drug is not a good example for our children.
“The situation is worrisome considering the fact that both issues are illegal,” she said.
Anyafulu, also the Chairman, House Committee on Women Affairs, Community and Social Development said that urgent measures must be taken to address the situation.
“The twin evil of drug abuse and sex trade represents great danger to the lives of our young people and the society at large.
“They both underline the physical, mental and social well-being of our young people and this will also jeopardize the development, peace and security of our dear state.
“So, I want to state that no nation survives without the youth, the youth and the young general are the life wire of our nation.
“Any nation that ignores the youth is heading for doom, so the importance of the young people cannot be over emphasized, it is therefore very important that we address this ugly trend,” she said.
Also speaking, Mr Oboro Preyor (PDP-Bomadi) decried the negative impact of rising drug abuse and prostitution, saying it must be addressed.
‘‘If this ugly trend is not addressed, it would attract more young people into their folks,’’ he said.
He also urged the government to rehabilitate youths who were addicted to drug and to create other avenues of engaging them in productive activities.
The motion was unanimously adopted by the lawmakers when put to voice vote by Speaker Dennis Guwor.
The lawmakers also called for support from law enforcement agencies to ensure the arrest and prosecution of illicit drug dealers and commercial sex workers in accordance with the law in order to curb the rising trend.
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