Port Harcourt, Oct. 31, 2022. Some economists have advocated taking of practical steps by the Federal Government to review its economic recovery and growth strategies for Nigeria to be able to evade imminent global recession.
The stakeholders, in a survey conducted by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in the South-South region, identified some economic indices that could make the country slide into recession.
They said that insecurity, high inflation, high cost of living and Russia-Ukrain could lead the country into recession, and called for actions to tackle them.
Speaking in Benin, Dr Okpara Udensi, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Edo/Delta branch, urged government to appraise its intervention strategies geared towards economic recovery in the country.
Udensi said that the Nigerian government needed to implement strategies that would promote business growth in the country.
According to him, going by the economic indices, Nigeria is already at the level of recession due to high inflation rate, insecurity, high cost of living and high Naira to Dollar exchange rate.
He however pointed out that the high cost of living was also applicable to other countries.
‘’This is also rocking the British politics; the Prime Minister Liz Truss had to resign because of the pound sterling falling.
“I think in terms of reality in the whole world, things are not getting really good, but in Nigeria, because of lack of infrastructure, the impact is hitting so hard.
‘’The way out of the global meltdown for Nigeria is for the Federal Government to review its economic recovery and growth strategies,” he said.
Udensi said that government could achieve this through dialogue with the Organised Private Sector (OPS) on what could be done to enable them to do well.
He said that this was because the OPS needed an enabling environment to do businesses that would grow the economy.
“Governments have been talking about giving out interventions; they should also do a check to find out if the interventions are getting to the people who need them.
“This is because if the interventions are actually getting to the manufacturers and industrialists, they will be able to boost their productivity.
“When this happens prices of goods will come down, there will be employment and the economic situation will improve,” he said.
On her part, Mrs Aina Omo-Ojeonu, President, Benin Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, claimed that Nigeria was worst hit with the global economic hardship.
She stated that there were many things happening around the world that were plunging the world economies into recession, adding ‘’Nigeria is worst hit in terms of global economic meltdown.”
Omo-Ojeonu listed the causative factors of inflation to include lack of electricity, insecurity and current flooding.
She added that doing business in such a situation was difficult as it would never grow when cost of production was very high.
“Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises are struggling to survive and some are going out of business,” she said.
She called for urgent steps aimed at reviewing the country’s present economic policies to ensure that Nigeria did not slide into recession.
In Cross River, a Senior Lecturer in the University of Calabar, Dr Gabriel Ajom, called for measures to safeguard Nigerians, advising government to curb oil theft for the country not to witness another recession.
Ajom expressed fear that the world was moving towards global recession and said the perceived prolonged stagnation might inflict worse damage than the financial crisis in 2008 and the COVID-19 shock in 2020.
He also decried the insecurity in Nigeria and some other countries and added that the situation had continued to prevent farmers from farming.
“It is quite sad to know that most farmers can no longer access their farms for fear of being kidnapped and beaten by bandits.
“More so, the dwindling oil price at the international market is another factor that may cause global recession,” he said.
Ajom, however, urged government at all levels to liaise with local vigilantees to provide security for farmers.
He commended the federal government for contracting the security of the nation’s oil pipelines to a private firm.
According to him, with the discovery of illegal pipelines owned by oil thieves, there is hope that oil production will rise in the interest of the country,
Contributing, another economist, Mr Andrew Obun, expressed belief that the Ukraine-Russia war was weakening the global economy through significant disruptions in trade, food and fuel price shocks.
He said that this contributed to high inflation and subsequent tightening in global financing conditions.
“The Russia-Ukraine war is having an outsized impact on the global supply chain, impeding the flow of goods, fueling dramatic cost increases and product shortages, and creating catastrophic food shortages around the world,’’ he said.
Obun said that Ukraine and Russia accounted for about a third of the world’s wheat and a quarter of barley production as well as 75 per cent of sunflower oil supply.
He regretted that the war had cut off the food supply chain.
In Rivers, the President of Agricultural Policy Research Network, Dr Anthony Onoja, warned that Nigeria could face serious economic consequences if the global economy contracted into a recession.
Onoja observed that many countries were now experiencing economic downturns and worsening cost of living, meaning that the global economy had begun contracting.
According to him, looking at the global economic pattern, the interest rates are increasing; prices of goods and services have gone astronomically up, further deepening poverty.
“In many advanced countries, workers are now striking; protests are now on the increase due to the increasing volatile economic situation in those countries,’’ he said.
He also said the inevitable global recession was amplified by the Russia-Ukraine war which led to shortages of wheat and other consumables, further increasing prices of food around the world.
He said the global economy had also been hard hit by Russia cutting-off of energy supply to European countries with millions losing jobs, resulting in lesser economic activities.
“In Nigeria, we are already experiencing an economic downturn caused by many factors, including insecurity and other domestic problems.
“Most places in the country that are known to be hot beds for agricultural activities are no longer active due to activities of Boko Haram terrorists, bandits, among others,” he added.
Onoja said activities that stimulated the economy like agriculture had been slowed down because farmers had been chased away from their farmlands by terrorists.
He, however urged government to take practical steps to cushion the effects on the nation’s bad economy caused by local unrest and the imminent global recession.
He also stated that Nigeria must prepare by setting up buffers to mitigate the impacts of the imminent global recession on the economy.
Similarly in Akwa Ibom, a development economist, Dr Chidi Nwabueze, reechoed the need for government to tackle the current negative economic realities to avoid the country sliding into recession.
He maintained that the rise in oil price, insecurity and high cost of food remained a danger signal to the economy.
He added that combined effects of terrorism, banditry and other negative happenings could never produce positive economic outcomes.
Nwabueze said that with insecurity, investors would leave the country, companies would not produce optimally and farmers could not be at work.
He said that the situation could lead to higher job losses, rising inflation, high-interest rates, increased crime, reduced economic activities, falling income and uncertainties about the future.
According to him, the side effect of all these will be shrinkage of the economy and with the way things are going, managers of the economy need to be more watchful and proactive.
Nwabueze, however, urged the National Bureau of Statistics to show with figures that the country had had negative economic growth in two consecutive quarters.
He explained that every economy went through four phases at different times such as expansion, peak, contraction and trough as well as some levels of inflation and unemployment.
Contributing, Prof. Edet Akpakpan of the University of Uyo claimed that government, over the years, had not planned the economy to ensure growth, rather left the planning for investors.
According to him, the country should not experience what she is experiencing now because she has both human and material resources to plan the economy.
Akpakpan says when Nigeria economy grows, citizens will do well and get richer, at least marginally, as they will have jobs, good salaries, and improved quality of life while companies and investors will also make profits.