Nigeria’s economy must not crumble – Experts tell Finance Minister

Financial experts say fixing challenges facing Nigeria’s economy must be the primary responsibility of the newly inaugurated Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Olawale Edun.

Nigeria’s fiscal, monetary policy, inflation, unemployment, foreign exchange and debt burden and other economic problems have now become the immediate headaches of Edun following his inauguration on Monday by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The country’s July inflation figure skyrocketed to 24.08 per cent, with N77 trillion debt burden and increased poverty level. Cost of living has also hit harder on Nigerians occasioned by fuel subsidy removal amid foreign exchange crisis.

Meanwhile, President Tinubu, during his speech at the inauguration of his 45-member ministerial cabinet, urged the ministers to address all the challenges facing the country.

“In this moment of abundant promise and peril in equal measure, all of you that have been sworn in have been called to distinguish yourselves. Nigerians are highly expectant of excellence in service delivery, accountability, and transparency,” he said.

Corroborating Tinubu’s charge to the Ministers, experts have urged Edun and his team at the Ministry of Finance and its agencies to fight inflation head-on, poverty, unemployment, and depreciation of the Naira against other currencies.

Speaking with DAILY POST in an interview on Monday, an accounting and financial development Don at Lead City University, Ibadan, Prof Godwin Oyedokun said for the country’s economy to work, the newly inaugurated Minister of Finance must follow the path of ‘business unusual’.

He stated that Edun must ensure equitable distribution of fuel subsidy removal palliative to all Nigerians.

“Mr Olawale Edun is a man of Integrity; I don’t doubt his ability to tackle Nigeria’s economic challenges. He should hit the ground running immediately; there is no longer room for excuses because they have been part of the government from day one.

“The economy is no longer smiling; people are struggling to cope. The petrol subsidy removal and exchange rate are troubling Nigerians.

“The palliative should be adequately looked into; what are the criteria for the distribution because everybody is affected by the current hardship.

“The formula to ensure that the ordinary citizens get, the Minister must look at the palliative”, he said.

“Also, the issue of forex must be tackled head-on; the government should sit down and consider the measures to be taken that provide a permanent solution”, he stated

On his part, Muda Yusuf, the Director of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, CPPE, said the Minister should look into economic governance, tackle macroeconomics issues, ensure fiscal consolidations, foreign policy reforms and removal of trade barriers.

He said the Minister must ensure consistent, tested, and trusted economic policies.

Yusuf stated that the Minister must do everything to stabilise the forex market.

“Reform Tax regime to ensure efficiency in tax administration, reduce tax evasion, tax avoidance and eliminate multiple taxation.

“Unlock more income from revenue generating agencies through enhanced efficiency of their operations.

“Initiate budget reforms to ensure fiscal discipline, curb budget padding, curb duplication of projects and review the service-wide votes to ensure transparency.

“Ensure value for money in government expenditure and procurement. Commit to a reduction in the cost of governance. Optimization of the utilisation of national assets to unlock liquidity”, he stated.

Also, Idakolo Gbolade, Chief Executive Officer of SD & D Capital Management said the Minister must ensure that the leakages in government revenues were blocked, and alternatives to government borrowings must be explored.

“The Coordinating minister of the economy has his job cut out for him because he must move swiftly to ensure quick and impactful implementation of the government’s policy on palliative and ensure that funds saved are judiciously utilised.

“The Minister must ensure that leakages in government revenues are blocked, and alternatives to government borrowings must be explored.

“The Minister is saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that all MDAs perform to uplift our ailing economy.

“Mr Edun comes into the job with relevant cognate experience to deliver; it can also be safely said that he was among those that drafted the blueprint that President Tinubu is using for the economy and implementation of the policy directive of the government should not be difficult for him to achieve.

“The government has started some quick interventions in the area of forex scarcity, which can be bridged by the NNPC Limited $3 billion loan for crude swap.

“The government is also trying to address the subsidy removal impact by implementing various measures in the transport sector that can cushion the effect of subsidy removal in the long run.

“The government’s policy to jumpstart the economy through various loans to the manufacturing sector, SMEs and youth entrepreneurs could help to activate the economy positively if properly implemented and help reduce inflation within the shortest possible time”, he stated.

(Daily Post)

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