The Manufacturer Association of Nigeria (MAN), The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) and some financial and economic experts yesterday lauded the new economic advisory team constituted by the Federal Government and tasked them on realignment of fiscal and monetary policies.
They spoke in separate interviews in Lagos and Abuja while reacting to the new Economic Advisory Council (EAC) constituted by President Muhammadu Buhari. Prof. Tella Sheriffdeen, a Professor of Economics, at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun, commended the team’s formation.
“It is hopeful that they will consider the need for the country to have a long-term national plan.
“The citizens need to know where the country should be in 2050 and how we will get there in terms of the resources.
“Even in the short and medium term, they should quickly look at where we are and how to reshape policies to take us in the right direction.
“The issue of current level of consumption, investment, government spending and revenue, and the international economy must be looked into to fast-forward growth of the economy with the next budget year and beyond,” Tella said.
Mr Sola Oni, a chartered stockbroker and chief executive officer, Sofunix Investment and Communications, said one could heave a sigh of relief with the composition of the team.
Oni said the team’s preoccupation was to offer the Federal Government realistic measures to revive the country’s ailing economy.
“The team should come up with appropriate policy framework to align fiscal and monetary policies, especially where there are disconnects.
“The members should address the issue of domestic fund mobilisation through measures such as realistic interest rates on domestic savings, holistic integration of informal activities into formal sector and more efficient banking and insurance sectors,” Oni said.
He said the team should also propose strategy for easy access to domestic credits by investors and provision of relevant incentives for domestic and foreign investors.
Oni urged the members to conduct impact analysis on the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) for enhanced implementation.
He called for engagement with the capital market regulators and operators to identify measures to leverage the capital market to boost economic growth and development.
“The team should reverse the recent increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) without further delay as it will do more harm than good in the present circumstance,” he said. Prof Nazifi Abdullahi Darma, a Professor of Development Economics and Public Finance at the University of Abuja, said it was a welcome development and something many experts had been yearning for.
“It is a good development because it is a tradition in most countries to have economic councils comprising of core and purely economic and financial experts that analyse the country’s economic and fiscal policies, national development polices and others; and then advise the government appropriately on the best policies to embark on that will lead the country to economic prosperity’’, he said.
He said this is even more important in a country like Nigeria where harmonization on what various sectors of the economy are doing is needed.
He said he expected the new team to lay the foundation where all economic perspectives would put for future reverence and for solid economic growth and development of the country.
“We hope and pray that the government will listen to them’’, he said.
Mr Moses Igbrude, Publicity Secretary, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), called for articulation of policies and strategies aimed at increasing productivity, especially in the agricultural sector.
Igbrude said emphasis should be on infrastructural development, for easy movement of goods and services.
Mr Ambrose Omordion, Chief Operating Officer, InvestData Ltd, said the economic team’s inauguration, though a welcome development, was long overdue.
“The team is expected to make sure there is coordination between the fiscal and monetary policies with their wealth of knowledge and experience in economic development,” Omordion said.
He said ERGP should be reviewed to trigger economic activities and development, noting that budgetary approach and implementation style should be another source of concern to the team. Malam Shehu Mikali, National President, Constance Shareholders Association of Nigeria, said the team, if given free hand, would bring turnaround to the economy.
Mikali said government should ensure implementation of the good economic policies expected from the team.
He said the country would feel the impact of the team if government would be willing to listen and adhere to their suggestions and ensure prompt actions when necessary.
Malam Garba Kurfi, Managing Director, APT Securities and Funds Ltd, said the team’s establishment confirmed government’s desire to take the economy to the next level. Kurfi said the entire members of the team were professional economists with diverse areas of specialisation and exposure.
“The number and formation is impressive and different from what we had in the past; we are hopeful that the president will get his priority right,” he said.
The Director General of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Segun Ajayi-Kadri, said the news of formation of an Economic Advisory Council was both timely and commendable.
He said the team should do a critical and comprehensive review of the current policy initiatives that drive the actions of government and immediately do the needful to harmonize the outcomes and craft an agenda that will guide the management of the economy going forward.
Speaking in Lagos, through Mr. Timothy Olawale, the Director-General, NECA commended President Muhammadu Buhari for taking the bold step in overhauling the management of the economy by constituting the Economic Advisory Council.
Mr. Olawale called on government and Nigerians to give the Council the needed support and encouragement to effectively deliver on the assignment.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s constitution of an Economic Advisory Council (EAC) to replace the current Economic Management Team (EMT) was confirmed by Mr Femi Adesina, his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, in a statement on Monday in Abuja. He said the council would be reporting directly to the president.
Adesina said the EAC, which will be chaired by Prof. Doyin Salami, would advise the president on economic policy matters.
He said that would include fiscal analysis, economic growth and a range of internal and global economic issues working with the relevant cabinet members and heads of monetary and fiscal agencies.
“The EAC will have monthly technical sessions as well as scheduled quarterly meetings with the president.
“The chairman may, however, request for unscheduled meetings if the need arises,’’ he said.
According to the statement, Dr Mohammed Sagagi and Dr Mohammed Adaya Salisu (Senior Special Assistant to the President, Development Policy) will serve as vice-chairman and secretary of the council respectively.
Other members of the council are Prof. Ode Ojowu, Dr Shehu Yahaya, Dr Iyabo Masha, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo and Mr Bismark Rewane.