By Ugo Aliogo
The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) has released its macroeconomic outlook report for 2021 with the theme: “Four Priorities for the Nigerian Economy in 2021 and Beyond.”
In a statement, the chairman of the board of the NESG, Mr. Asue Ighodalo while unveiling the 2021 Macroeconomic outlook report stated that the NESG recognises the importance of engagement for the growth of the Nigerian economy and that is why the 2021 Macroeconomic outlook report focuses on the sectors Nigeria should proritise for growth and accelerated economic recovery.
He noted that the outbreak of COVID-19 shaped the direction of many economies and reversed positive economic outlook which resulted in commodity prices, major currencies and investment inflows taking a hit as the Pandemic suppressed demand and disrupted supply chain.
Ighodalo revealed that the twin effects of the pandemic and global crash in oil price exposed the weak macroeconomic fundamentals and led to a recession in Q3-2020 with real GDP contracting by 6.1% and 3.6% in the second and third quarters of 2020.
The Chairman further stated that this year’s macroeconomic outlook emphasizes ‘4 priorities’ essential to delivering a high, sustainable, and inclusive economic growth for Nigeria over the next few years and that the priorities are macroeconomic stability, policy and regulatory consistency, sectoral reforms, and human capital development.
While presenting the 2021 Macroeconomic Outlook report, Director of Research, NESG Dr. Olusegun Omisakin and Senior Economist at the NESG, Mr. Wilson Erumebor said that inflation has consistently increased to 15.8 percent and that Nigeria’s Foreign Direct Investments declined in the second and third quarter of 2020; having a significant impact on the economy.
He said Nigeria had a trade deficit at the time of the border closure and external reserves in 2019 and maintained a downward trend into 2020.
Furthermore, Erumebor reiterated the need for Nigeria to intensify macroeconomic stability, policy and regulatory consistency, sectoral reforms, and human capital development which should be geared towards creating a favourable business environment that attracts investment into crucial sectors of the economy and improves the welfare of the average Nigerian.
He noted that the report established a Lack of coherence between states and the federal government which continues to hinder and result in social and economic losses and that Policy making should be driven by the need to create public value.
“It has become pertinent for the government to improve access to education, curriculum review and delivery, ICT and healthcare reforms, while leveraging on private sector investment. Urgency and intensity of reforms must be the new priority.” He stated.
The chairman of the Presidential Advisory Council, Dr. Doyin Salami, hinted that he subscribes to the fundamental thesis that going forward Nigeria needs lots of investments.
“Reforms mean you depart from where you currently are and doing so means some costs must be borne. The question is who bears the costs? If we fail to reform deeply and sustainably, then we won’t get the change we desire. We must not be satisfied as a country to simply exit recession, there is a need for reformation, deep and sustainable reforms.” Salami stated.
While delivering the closing remarks, the Chief Executive Officer, NESG Mr. ‘Laoye Jaiyeola stated that in 2021 and beyond, the federal and state governments must be deliberate and proactive to counter the effects of the pandemic and that government at all levels must embark on reforms aimed at attracting investments into crucial sectors of the economy to forestall economic hardship, wider income inequality and increasing poverty.