Monday, 19 June 2017

Develop better framework for economic diversification – Soludo

By Gabriel Alonta
Former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, has charged the intellectual elites in the country to think through a framework that will prevent Nigeria from continuing to be a victim of cyclical trend in oil prices.
The renowned economist made this revelation while delivering the lead paper at an international conference organised by the Department of Business Administration, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.
According to him, Nigeria went into recession because of faulty model of response to an oil price shock; adding that 0.01 per cent growth can get the country out of the current economic recession.
Soludo described the previous responses by the government to recession as ad hoc and, made as their spirit directed them, which led to what he called ‘stagflation’, that is, rising unemployment with rising recession; stressing that the mindset of Nigerian leaders is still stuck with the past.
“I believe, just in the true sense of the founder of this University, Nnamdi Azikiwe, who envisioned a renascent Africa, that if this conference can help to provide the blueprint on how Nigeria can prosper in spite of oil; then, we would have through time provided the blueprint for a truly renascent Africa because it will be renascent Africa that will be resilient, sustainable and prosperous”, he contended.
Prof. Soludo advocated for more workable policy on the fight against recession and questioned the country’s extent of borrowing externally, adding that the federal government has a debt services obligation of more than 60 per cent of the country’s revenue. He said that Nigeria takes loans at high exchange rate that will be difficult for leaders to repay in future.
In his speech, the Chairman Senate Committee on Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFUND, Senator Barau Jibrin, represented by Engr. Alexander Unachukwu, said that Nigeria can be out of recession by diversifying her economy.
Jibrin said that other areas of the economy like technology should be explored instead of agriculture alone, adding that technology cannot be ruled out when it comes to revamping an economy.
Earlier, the Vice Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Prof. Joseph Ahaneku commended the Department of Business Administration for sustaining its international conference series thereby keying into the University’s tradition of using academic discourses by its various faculties to examine issues of national and international concern with a view of proffering solutions.
Prof. Ahaneku described the theme of the conference as being in the domain of public discourse, not just in government circles but right through every segment of society down even to the village market woman, this being only a faint reflection of the hardship attendant on the economic recession.
“Such is the concern with this economic quagmire that in this university alone in the past couple of weeks, there have been three public lectures examining this economic predicament from different perspectives”, he stated.
The head of the Department of Business Administration, Dr. Lilian Orogbu explained that the basic goal of holding the conference was to address topical areas like recession which is now a household name.

“The bottom line is that we want to find a way out of over-dependence on oil, importation, and then, diversifying more in the areas of agriculture, production and exportation”, she said.



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