Zainab Ahmed and Asue Ighodalo
Zainab Ahmed and Asue Ighodalo

OBINNA EZUGWU

The Nigerian Economic Summit Group, (NESG) has said the country’s business space is over-regulated and must be opened up if the country must attain economic prosperity.

The group which offered the advice as part of the recommendations presented to the federal government on Tuesday after its 26th summit, said said it has become imperative to enable the country to capitalize on the opportunities inherent in the changing dynamics of the local, regional and global economy so that Nigerian is not left behind.

The NESG, in the presentation by its chairman, Mr Asue Ighodalo to Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, noted that the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the need to urgently retool economic policies to capitalize on the opportunities inherent in the changing dynamics of the local, regional and global economic landscape, so that no Nigerian is left behind.

The group noted that for the country’s economy to move out of its current state of despair, all governments must lead the way towards its recovery and resilience.

According to the NESG, the feat is achievable if the government would remove bottlenecks and expand economic opportunity for all Nigerians through sound policies, strong institutions, and responsible public investments (especially pro-poor investments).

In addition to the above steps, it urged governments at all levels to unlock more private sector participation by removing sectoral rigidities that inhibit the potential of businesses to drive economic growth.

The 26th edition of NESG was held in September last year amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other areas listed by NESG for urgent action, include its challenge to the civil society group to mobilize Nigerian to take civic responsibility and hold leaders accountable.’

It took note of unprecedented turmoil unleashed by the global COVID-19 pandemic as well as the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests by Nigerian youth, which it said was paramount in the minds of Nigerians as the NES #26 was convened.

“The summit discussions were dimensioned around five sub-themes: mapping the future; new trends, new opportunities, new horizons; embracing technology and innovation; building resilience; and charting the path to recovery,” said Ighodalo

The group tasked the government with pursuing policies that will lead to macroeconomic stability, economic growth that will outpace population growth, creates jobs, stabilizes inflation and reduces poverty.

It advised the government to unify forex rates into the single and market-driven window.

Other areas of economic interest NESG wanted the federal government to give attention to are: Improve coordination of fiscal, monetary and structural policies, aggressively attract FDI, deregulation of oil and gas sector by passing Petroleum Industry Bill PIB; tighten fiscal coordination and intensify public investments in social sectors amongst others.

While receiving the report, the minister of finance, budget and national planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed promised to deliver the Group recommendations to the federal government.

”We have noted your detailed recommendations. We will transmit your recommendations to Mr President who will, in turn, present them to the Federal Executive Council. Appropriate agencies of the government would be tasked with the implementation of your recommendations” she said

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