LASG: Macroeconomic Framework, Policy Inconsistencies Killing Our Economy

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  • Outlines how it created enabling environment for investors

By Gboyega Akinsanmi

The Lagos State Government at the weekend lamented that macroeconomic framework and policy inconsistencies had pushed Nigeria’s domestic economy on the verge of total collapse.

Reflecting on how it created enabling environment and attracted local and foreign investors to the state, the state government added that the country “is yet to get its economic framework right.”

The state Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Mr. Rotimi Ogunleye, expressed the state concern at the 2016 Africa Industrialisation Day held at Adeyemi Bero Hall, Alausa.

The programme tagged: ‘Financing Industrialisation in Africa: Challenges and Strategies’, brought together many emerging industrialists who exhibited their products.

Also with the commissioner at the programme were the Special Adviser on Commerce, Mr. Benjamin Olabinjo; Permanent Secretary, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives Mr. Olalekan Akodu, and Regional Head, Bank of Industry (Lagos Office) among others.

At the session with the emerging industrialists in the state, Ogunleye noted that macro-economic framework “has always been the challenge for the Nigerian economy. The country is yet to get right.”

He lamented unprecedented variations in the available economic data which he said were normally presented to justify that the Nigerian economy “is not diversified. There is visible diversity from available statistics.”

Upon the rebasing of the Nigerian economy in 2014, Ogunleye said oil then “accounted for 37 per cent and down to 16 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Agriculture accounts for 22 per cent and manufacturing 7.4 per cent from as low as 1.9 per cent prior to rebasing.

“The trade and services sector accounts for 54 per cent of our GDP.  The question is why has the manufacturing sector unable to account for at least 50 per cent of the GDP and upward of 80 per cent of export earnings?” He explained.

The commissioner explained that the country had failed to embark on a large-scale agricultural value added development and industrialisation, saying it implemented infrastructure overhaul “to boost power supply.

“We did not adopt and implement comprehensive infrastructure overhaul to boost power supply and thereby save manufacturers from the cost-push inflation trend occasioned by huge expenditure on power generators and other alternative source of energy.”

He cited other challenges facing the organised private sector (OPS) to include policy inconsistencies, inadequate and poorly maintained roads, insatiable demand of Nigeria consumers for imported goods and insecurity.

The commissioner lamented that there was dearth of soft credit for the micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs), which he said would make them to upscale their products.

Ogunleye said there “is urgent need to begin to diversify our economy particularly with the dwindling revenue from oil occasioned by the fall in the price of crude oil in the international market.

“Industrialisation therefore must be at the front burner of every discourse backed by action through government programmes and projects in collaboration with the organised private sector.

“We have always been in the vanguard for the enhancement of Nigeria’s fiscal and monetary policies to drive the economy and create a wholesome environment for the private sector.”

He, therefore, noted that the state government “has always striven to create and sustain our status as a megacity.  We have created a business friendly environment that would attract more local and foreign investments into the state to create jobs and increase productivity.

“We have set up our target at creating a 24/7 economy. Hence, we embarked on the Light-Up Lagos Project which has made movement at night more secure and alluring.

“Our development imperatives as state place on us the responsibility of developing strategies that will help to harness public and private investments with a view to having a dynamic and expanding economy that is functional and visually attractive.

“We have predicted our development plans on four parameters comprising economic development pillar, infrastructure development pillar, development and security pillar and sustainable environment pillar.”