The Director of the NTU-SBF Centre for African Studies unveiled a 10-year economic roadmap for Nigeria in Lagos. The 150-page report Back to Growth: Priority Agenda for the economic revival of Nigeria was presented to a packed audience at the Eko Hotel and Suites in Lagos on 27 Nov.
In his keynote address at the unveiling of the report in Lagos, Amit Jain, the Director of NTU-SBF Centre for African Studies, laid out a set of progressive reforms that, if carried out sequentially, could put Nigeria back on the path to sustained growth. He outlined four critical factors likely to determine Nigeria's economic performance over the next ten years - the price of oil in the international market, fiscal stability, infrastructure, and investor confidence. “Although there is little that Nigeria can do to affect the global oil price, it can take steps to attain fiscal stability, improve infrastructure, and restore investor confidence,” he said. He identified three essential conditions for sustained growth for the country.
"First, if international trade and the financial markets remain favourable to Nigeria, it would be able to borrow at concessional rates. Second, Nigeria’s demographic dividend will not be felt unless the working-age population has the right skills to exploit opportunities in a changing world. Third, and perhaps most important, is governance. Good governance is critical to ensuring durable economic growth. It would help improve the business climate and repair the social contract between citizens and the state that has been damaged over the years,” said Jain.
According to the report, the priority for Nigeria over the next two years should be to achieve stabilization. “Ending fuel subsidy, tightening monetary policy, migrating to a flexible unified exchange rate regime, and curbing oil theft should stop a bad financial situation from worsening,” said Jain. “Once stabilisation is achieved, policy priority should shift towards structural transformation. That would require dismantling the many barriers that hobble private enterprise.”
The report says that the fiscal space acquired in the first two years of reforms should provide adequate room to crowd in private investments. With that in mind priority should be placed on fixing the infrastructure. Once growth is revived, priorities must shift towards ensuring that growth is sustained. “This will be the hard part. There is a tendency for reforms to lose momentum when economy starts to grow,” Jain told the audience. “This is something we would like Nigeria to caution again.”
The report lays out specific time-bound targets. Jain believes that if some of the recommendations made in the report are carried out, Nigeria could achieve an annual GDP growth rate of 7% and emerge as one of the top 20 economies in the world.
His keynote was followed by a panel discussion that included renowned Nigerian economist Dr Doyin Salami, Chief Executive Officer of MainOne, Ms. Funke Opeke, and the Chairman of Union Bank, Mr. Farouk Gumel.
Download the report.