Chairman of Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr. Ernest Ebi has advocated a fundamental transformation of Nigeria’s economy via a broad range of policy measures that can put the economy on strong foundation for sustainable growth and development.
Mr. Ebi stated this recently at Ede, Osun State, while delivering the 9th Convocation Lecture of Redeemer’s University entitled “Negotiating the Recession Challenges: Options for the Structurally Unbalanced Nigerian Economy”
“What the country needs at this time to sustain the exit from economic recession is a fundamental transformation of the economy that will address the structural economic imbalance, improve on institutional framework, ease of doing business, infrastructure, and strong private sector participation”, Ebi stated.
He added that “such a transformation should be focused on creating jobs on a massive scale and growing the economy from the bottom of the pyramid to avert the ticking time bomb of youth restiveness and unemployment. This will ensure inclusive economic growth that works for everybody, bridge the inequality gap, provide the enabling regulatory environment for the private sector to thrive and help prioritize the main drivers of the economy”.
Mr. Ebi who is also the Chairman of Centre for Financial Journalism said there must be a renewed focus on production. He stated that “There is no doubt that a key component of economic development and growth process of a nation is an increase in the country’s production, especially of its exportable goods and services. Accordingly, the pursuit of diversification of Nigeria’s monolithic economy should be with a bias to production (out right manufacture of new items or value addition to primary products) for local consumption and export. The well implemented production based economy will lead to job creation, specialization and gradual sophistication of products. All developed economies have these attributes as enablers to their sustainable economic development.
Infrastructure and improved business environment is equally a sine qua non, he said. He pointed out that production requires infrastructure to thrive efficiently, but regretted that due to the epileptic power supply many industries in Nigeria have crumbled under the weight of huge energy costs as they provide power for their businesses using private electricity generating sets. He argued that until the power problem in Nigeria improves, there can be only little growth in the manufacturing sector that houses production of goods.
“Also important is import substitution”, he stated, maintaining that “Nigeria’s near-total dependency on imported manufactured goods, ranging from the simplest household consumer items to the most complex industrial inputs makes the economy very vulnerable to external shocks and this must be addressed for the nation to have a sustainable economic growth.