Recession: Forum Lists Changes Needed To Reflate Nigeria’s Economy

Pat-UtomiParticipants in a conference held in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, have identified critical issues they said must be addressed for the nation to come out of current economic recession.

Lack of political will to develop the manufacturing sector of the economy is a major reason the nation is in recession, they said.

The former Coordinator of the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP), Mr Magnus Kpakol, was one of the participants in the conference that focused on ‘the Role of Monetary Policy in Job Creation’.

It was organised by the Economics and Business Strategies Limited in Abuja.

Lack Of Ability To Produce

According to Mr Kpakol, dearth of foreign exchange and high inflation rate in Nigeria is caused by the lack of ability to produce for export.

Nigeria’s currency, the Naira, has continued to decline against the dollar since the nation’s foreign exchange policies made it difficult for importers to have access to the dollar like they used to.

Most of the items in Nigeria are imported. Poor power supply and other factors had stifled manufacturing, with most companies having to generate their own power. The high cost of production has made locally manufactured goods expensive.

The conference had series of lectures targeted at driving the economy seen as the largest in Africa.

Other discussants, a professor of economics, Pat Utomi, and a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Obadiah Mailafia, emphasised the need to improve involvement in agriculture and manufacturing in the nation that had depended largely on crude oil sales for revenue.

Agriculture was the mainstay of the nation’s economy before the discovery of crude oil.

Meanwhile, the keynote speaker, Anita Campion, stressed the need to have a policy that encourages production, processing and export of agricultural products.

The conference came at a time that unemployment is on the increase and the economy is in recession.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria’s unemployment rate rose from 12.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2016 to 13.3 per cent at the end of the second quarter.

Despite the situation, experts at the conference believe that right economic policies that encourage private investments could turn the situation around.

Anambra Targets Top Spot In Rice Production

ICOAST-AGRICULTURE-RICEThe Anambra State government says it is increasing efforts to close the gap in Nigeria’s rice production and emerging as the third largest producer of rice in the nation making efforts to shift its revenue source away from crude oil sales. 

It is another season of rice planting and the state government is assessing farms in Anaku, Ayamelum and Nnewi South Local Government Areas of Anambra State.

At least 800 out of 2,500 hectares of land given to an investing farm and being run under a Public-Private Partnership involving the Anambra State government and the investor have been cultivated.

The farm production target is 5,000 metric tonnes this year, as against 3,000 metric tonnes produced last year.

Arriving Anaku in Ayamelum Local Government area of the state, the Governor was heartily received by the traditional ruler of the Anaku and some government functionaries.

The itinerary of the Governor of the State, Mr Willie Obiano, began with the inspection of the 1.9 kilometre road where earthwork had been done up to seventy per cent.

The road is part of the equity contribution of the State government towards the partnership which would make for easy movement in and out of the farm.

The General Manager of the farm, who conducted the Governor around said the seeding commenced on the May 23 and that harvest would be in October, with 4,000 metric tonnes of rice expected.

The Governor expressed satisfaction with both the road construction and the rice farm, observing that the technology used in the farm was advanced and computerised.

He spelt out the certainty that rice production in the state would significantly be boosted.

From Anaku, the Governor moved to Stine Rice Mill in Amichi Nnewi South Local Government Area, where Anambra rice is processed and bagged, Governor Obiano expressed delight at the growth of the mill within a short period of time especially with the “Best Rice Brand in Africa” award won with Anambra rice.

The operations of the mill had been reinvigorated through a loan provided by the Anambra Small Business Agency and it presently mills approximately nine thousand bags of rice a day.

The Managing Director of the Mill who took the Governor on facility tour of the plant acknowledged that the agricultural revolutionary policy of the Governor had given a boost to rice production in the state.

The Commissioner for Agriculture also remarked that the mill had become the biggest in West Africa by virtue of its production capacity.

Governor Obiano expressed joy that the paddy used for production in the mill was sourced 100 per cent from farms across the state and announced that the increased yield expected from rice farms across the state through his administration’s intervention would ensure the state was headed for sufficiency in rice production.

He also believes that the development will bridge the gap in consumption.

Governor Obiano further directed that construction of the Umunwehi Road leading to the milling plant be kick started immediately.