By Ebere Nwoji
An industrialist, investment expert and Chairman, African Centre for Business Development, Strategy and Innovation, (ACBDSI) Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa has said that the surest way Nigeria could come out of her current economic quagmire was to ramp up agricultural productivity through harmonisation of the several programmes and initiatives of the outgone and present administrations.
Ohuabunwa, stated this in a key note address at the 2016 independence lecture organised by the Business Club Ikeja (BCI), titled: “A Toast to Nigeria at 56 , the Way Forward for the Economy.”
Specifically, Ohuabunwa said the lowest hanging opportunity for Nigeria to increase productivity and reduce the rate of unemployment was to increase agricultural productivity through a harmonisation of the several programmes and initiatives started by the Agricultural Transformation Agenda of the former Minister of Agriculture, Akinwumi Adesina and the Green Alternative Roadmap of the incumbent Minister, Audu Ogbe.
He highlighted promotion of commercial agriculture and the development of the value chain as well as linkage to manufacturing and all forms of value addition as solution to the problem.
He also advised that the directive by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to commercial banks that 60 percent of forex should be preferentially allocated to the manufacturing sector should be enforced, even as he urged the government to create an enabling environment that will make Nigeria a preferred investment destination.
|“The government should dismantle all the roadblocks and deliberately make it easy to do business in Nigeria. We should also provide incentives to the investors (domestic and foreign), tax holidays, deferred taxation, infrastructure deficit tax reliefs, export expansion grants, etc, to attract increased investment. Additionally, let us find ways to attract more home remittances,” he advised.
Ohuabunwa, said to create easy access to finances, the government should make it extremely easy for businessmen and investors to access funds in the economy at single digit interest rates as well as simplify the existing funding programmes of the CBN, BOI, Agric Bank, Infrastructure Bank and other financial institutions.
The former Chief Executive Officer of Neimeth Pharmaceuticals also said that the government should create an environment that offers longer tenures and gets existing loans to commercial banks restructured under the intermediation and supervision of the CBN.
Ohuabunwa, a former Chairman of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, also urged the government to endeavour to bring stability to Nigeria’s policy environment by adopting strategic policy development options and creating a uniting vision and developing long term strategies that have been well thought through.
According to him, such policies must be given time to mature before contemplating change.
On his part, the President of BCI, Mr. Rotimi Oladele, said the BCI as a business club, stands out for knowledge development strategy for business networking, coordinating private sector, analysing government policy pronouncement and building alliances between stakeholders.
He said the lecture was a new initiative put in place by the club to review government policies in the past years and suggest the way forward.
According to him, the club, wants government to always put short and long term policies before the stakeholders, who constitute those the polices will affect directly to have their feedback so that it will guide them in designing policies that are in line with people’s expectations.