Segun James and Shola Oyeyipo
The federal government has been advised to sustain the momentum away from recession through the implementation of policy reforms that are capable of replacing the income the country lost during the five quarters of recession through investments.
Making the call tuesday during an interview on ARISE Television, a THISDAY Newspaper sister broadcast network, the Chief Executive Officer of Economic Associates, Dr Ayodele Teriba, who attributed the recession to the countryâ€™s over-dependence on oil and the consequential cyclical downturn which has been reversed by the doubling of oil prices, said Nigeria needs massive investments and privatisation.
According to him, â€œThat an economy that has seen contraction is recovering, it is recovery. The issue however is whether it is going to be sustained.
â€œNigeria needs to attract foreign direct investment and embark on massive privatisation. Oil production is back to its potential. We couldnâ€™t be asking for more from oil. What the country needs now is adequate liquidity. Let investors come in now.â€
As a way of boosting investment, he urged the government to release some of the major aspects of the national economy still under its control for private sector investment.
â€œYou donâ€™t need to say too much to persuade investors, any investor who sees a country that was unstable before becoming stable would be interested but government should know that large investment opportunities are still under government monopoly, unless government opens the space investors cannot come.â€
Teriba advised the federal government to open the investment space for the private sector to come and invest in the economy just as it did in the telecoms sector.
He said it was gladdening that the nation has moved out of recession, but it has to sustain the momentum by opening the investment space for the private sector.
He insisted that for the nation to attract investment to drive the economy, government must allow investors to participate in key growth areas where the government presently holds a monopoly.
â€œThe need to act in realisation that the main obstacles before investors that the largest investment opportunities are currently under government monopoly like railways, power transmission, pipelines, health and the education sector all of which Saudi Arabia is opening for partial privatisation; but unless government open up these space, however willing investors are, they can invest in the largest opportunity areas as it did in telecoms.â€
On what is driving the recovery that has seen Nigeria out of recession, Teriba opined that it was the â€œcyclical component. The recession came because of the cyclical downturn; and that has been partially reversed. Oil price has virtually doubled from what it was from last year.
â€œProduction has increased, so the current recovery is primarily driven by the cyclical upturn. But the sustenance of these require the policy reforms that are being put in top gear including attracting and retaining significant investment that is when you can ensure sustained growth and recovery.â€