Economic Summit Group To FG: Discourage policies that impoverish Nigerians  

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Story from Kenneth AFOR, Lagos

The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) has advised the Buhari-led administration not to allow policies that would impoverish Nigerians.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by the board Chairman, Asue Ighodalo and Chief Executive Officer, ‘Laoye Jaiyeola, on Tuesday, September 8, 2020.

According to the group, there is need for the government to upgrade the management and support the agricultural sector is receiving with respect to the huge deficit of food production in the country in spite of the humongous budgetary allocation to the sector.

“Despite the budgetary allocations and huge sums of money disbursed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, a huge gap remains in meeting the food requirements, which has resulted in increasing hunger among the Nigerian populace. Evidently, the issues are beyond money,” the group stated.

In view of the recently amended Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020, the group calls on stakeholders who have concerns about the act to follow due process in seeking review of the act stressing that government will grant them a fair hearing.

Also, they urge the government to carry out the due stakeholder’s consultations on the Petroleum and Industry Bill (PIB) so that the law will create an enabling economic environment for investment opportunities, technology transfer and utilisation efficiency.

“The Group expresses serious concerns about how the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has carried on the business of foreign exchange transactions, loan disbursements (intervention funds) and price fixings without appropriate policy clarity.

“This can be subject to abuses, manipulations and significant market disruptions, reflective of a policy akin to crony capitalism. We therefore respectfully request the appropriate authorities to properly review this policy to restore credibility into our financial sector.

“The NESG has expressed severe concerns about certain provisions of the ‘repealed and re-enacted’ Bank and Other Financial Institutions Act 2020.

“The Bill contains certain provisions which breach the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution, confers immunity on CBN officials and exempts actions by the CBN from judicial review. These are draconian, totalitarian and inimical to the development of a stable and transparently regulated financial sector,” they stated.

On the other hand, they caution the apex bank against the distortions in the liquidity and interest rate management which they claimed has led to the distortions in rates thereby sending a wrong signal to domestic investors and pensioners in a country.

While the administration is yet to have a full grip on the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), the group advised for swift ratification of chatter in order to position the country for full membership.

“Our country needs to mobilise domestic savings and investments even as we seek to attract foreign investment and we should be careful not to initiate policies that appear to discriminate against or discourage domestic savings and investors.

“We also call on the government to ratify the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), so that we can move to full membership status and take our rightful place in subsequent negotiation rounds,” it advised.

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