By Ndubuisi Francis
Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG) has described the business space in Nigeria as over-regulated, and urged the federal government to navigate the economy from the current doldrums.
NESG said in its report of the 26th Nigeria Economic Summit (NESG26) that all tiers of government must lead the way towards economic recovery and resilience.
Submitting the report to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, the NESG Chairman, Mr. Asue Ighodalo, said attaining economic recovery was achievable by expanding economic opportunities for all Nigerians through sound policies, strong institutions, and responsible public investments, especially pro-poor investments.
He also urged governments at all levels to unlock more private sector participation by removing sectoral rigidities that inhibit the potential of businesses to drive economic growth.
These and more were part of the recommendations of NESG’s 26th Summit recommendations presented.
The 26th edition of NESG was held in November last year amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
Other areas listed by NESG for urgent action include its challenge to the civil society groups to mobilise Nigerians to take civic responsibility and hold leaders accountable.
The NESG observed that the unprecedented turmoil unleashed by the global COVID-19 pandemic as well as the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests by Nigerian youth, which it said was paramount in the minds of Nigerians as the NESG #26 was convened.
“The summit discussions were dimensioned around five sub-themes: mapping the future; new trends, new opportunities, new horizons; embracing technology and innovation; building resilience; and charting the path to recovery,” NESG chairman said
He tasked the government on policies that would lead to macroeconomic stability, economic growth that would outpace population growth, creates jobs, stabilises inflation and reduce poverty.
He also advised the federal government to unify forex rates into single and market-driven window.
The NESG called for an improvement on coordination of fiscal, monetary and structural policies, aggressively attract foreign direct investment (FDI), deregulation of the oil and gas sector by passing the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB); tighten fiscal coordination and intensify public investments in social sectors amongst others.
Receiving the report, the minister promised to deliver the recommendations to President Muhammadu Buhari.
She said: “We have noted your detailed recommendations. We will transmit your recommendations to Mr. President who will, in turn, present them to the Federal Executive Council. “Appropriate agencies of the government would be tasked with the implementation of your recommendations,” said the minister of finance, budget and national planning.
While commending the Joint Planning Committee for the success of the Summit, she said it was important to point out the urgent need to further strengthen the collaboration between the NESG and her ministry.