By Chukwuma Umeorah
As part of efforts to proffer solutions to the many challenges bedevilling the country and impeding its economic growth and development, experts have advised that Nigeria needs to adopt sound and innovative policies as well as produce competent and committed leaders who would ensure strict implementation and compliance.
The experts, who were drawn from both public and private sectors, converged in Lagos at the National Economic Dialogue by the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) with the topic, “Promotion of a Novel Approach to Policy Design, Implementation, and Mentoring in 2023,” to deliberate on critical issues affecting the economy of the country while coming up with possible solutions.
Fiscal Policy Partner and Africa Tax Leader at PwC, Taiwo Oyedele said the enormous problems of Nigeria required simple solutions. He identified the lack of data-driven policies, poor inclusive approach and improper coordination by the government as the major challenges mitigating a viable economy. According to him, economic policies are created without adequate data and without the inclusion of relevant stakeholders especially the Organised Private Sector (OPS). Likewise, he faulted the proper implementation of already existing policies saying “if you design a policy without proper implementation and monitoring, it will not work.” Oyedele urged NECA to build institutional capacity and sponsor a law to institutionalise the OPS in effective policy engagements in government. “Let us sponsor a law to legislate this inclusive approach so that they cannot do it without the private sector. We must have a voice in every important economic decision,” he advised.
Addressing the issue of corruption and incompetent leaders, the Chief Executive Officer, Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE) Dr Muda Yusuf, said that “Corruption thrives in an environment where there are no consequences. There is a need for an entire change in orientation to ensure that we are not celebrating corruption.” Optimistic about defeating this which he claims is endemic in our society, he said there needs to be strict punishment and systemic solutions put in place even as he urged the incoming administration to develop strong political will and commitment by appointing quality individuals who understand and comply with good economic advisories to man the affairs of government. He also called for strengthened advocacy for the inclusion of all relevant stakeholders.
On his part, the Managing Director of BusinessDay Media Limited, Dr Ogho Okiti, called on businesses and the OPS to leverage the power of the media using a collective voice for an industry approach to policies and development. He urged the electorates to be deliberate in choosing those they elect into government in the incoming 2023 elections noting that this would have a direct impact on individual businesses, sectors and industries as well as the general state of the economy. While also lamenting the negative impact of slow policy adoption, he called on the government to facilitate the process so as not to further create new problems while trying to solve one.
The keynote Speaker and Professor of Economics at Lagos Business School, Prof Bongo Adi warned that the major challenge facing the country was not only a poor macroeconomics environment but the inability of its leaders to create policies that would foster growth. He claimed that they were focused on short-term measures rather than addressing underlying issues.
While speaking on the topic “Rethinking Developmental State Paradigm,” he advised that there is a need for a paradigm shift to adopt new and innovative developmental techniques and policies in line with ever-changing circumstances and to develop the institutional capability required to implement such policies. Also identifying poverty and brain drain as critical issues, he suggested that there is a need for improved investment in human capital.
“Poverty and brain-drain tend to undermine every policy. The new Developmental State Paradigm prioritises human capital. The major distinction between rich and poor countries can be linked directly to the differential acquisition of human capital,” he said.