By Victor Ahiuma-Young
LAGOS—Human Capital Providers Association of Nigeria, HuCaPAN, weekend in Lagos, called on the Federal Government to re-engineer the economy from bottom-up, diversify it and strengthen its industrial base, among others, to pull the nation’s economy out of recession.
Addressing members and guests at its 6th Annual General Meeting, AGM, President of the association, Mr. Neye Enemigin, contended that government must also modernise infrastructure and provide massive employment in addition to allocation of resources and shift primary focus to the economic front to wriggle out of crippling recession that the nation had found herself.
He lamented that since the nation’s economy slipped into recession in 2016, for the first time in many years, all major economic indices have been on the slide such as 2% growth, over 18.5% inflation rate and 14% unemployment rate.
Enemigin said: “The primary cause of this scenario is the dwindling oil revenues in the last two years (caused by both falling price of oil as well as reduced production), and the fact that we did not diversify the economy when it was buoyant.
‘’The lower oil prices which reduced our foreign exchange earnings undermined the Naira, thus causing a steep rise in the cost of goods and services. To wriggle out of recession, government must ensure just allocation of resources and shift primary focus to the economic front.
‘’The decline of oil prices exposed the structural weaknesses of our economy. Strategic objectives during this period must be to re-engineer the economy from the bottom-up, diversify the economic base, strengthen our industrial base, modernise infrastructure and provide employment.”
“I will like to give two examples of diversification which is the surest way out of recession – oil and agriculture. On oil, emphasis should be on building new refineries and fixing existing ones.”
‘’Imagine if we are refining our entire petroleum products requirement locally and even exporting refined products to neighbouring countries, we will reduce by 40% our demand for Foreign Exchange, forex, strengthen the naira, create direct and indirect jobs for our people, some by-products from crude will grow industries like petrochemical, plastics etc.
‘’The same scenario applies to Agriculture, where Government is putting half-hearted measures. Capital vote for Agriculture in the 2016 budget was 1.6% and 20171.8%, respectively. This does not show serious commitments.
‘’We should be able to feed ourselves and stop the huge foreign exchange going out for the importation of Rice, Frozen Chicken, Fish, Eggs, etc. We need to reduce our consumption of imported products, grow local consumption and fix electricity generation and distribution urgently if we must get out of recession.”