…You don’t love Nigerians more than govt –Emefiele
By Isaac Anumihe and James Ojo, Abuja
The Chairman of Stanbic IBTC Bank, Mr. Atedo Peterside, yesterday came hard against the rudderless economic policies of the Federal Government, saying they have failed to fix the economy.
Speaking at the 14th edition of the Daily Trust Dialogue titled, “Economic Recession: Towards a Resilient Economy”, Peterside said that the economy has lost direction and that it is only those in the government that can understand the development that has scared investors.
He listed some pitfalls in the policy like failure to reach a compromise on the Niger Delta debacle, inability to completely break away from past methods of running government and haphazard measures in the reforms of key sectors of the economy.
The Stanbic IBTC boss also faulted the Federal Government for keeping a bloated civil service riddled with corruption and demarketing the country’s potential through remarks that discourage investment.
While emphasising that his remarks were borne out of genuine interest for the nation to get out of economic recession, he challenged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to accept that its foreign exchange policies under Governor Godwin Emefiele have failed.
In his defence, Emefiele stated that the critics of the government policies do not love the country more than the government.
“Our priority today will be the Nigerian people. We are laying emphasis on those who want to produce what we cannot but what we need. Policies are not made in isolation; they are made to achieve some objectives,” he said. The CBN governor said that some of the points raised are not only contestable, but are out of point.
However, he said that government will look into some of the points raised, adding that the government was doing its best to take the economy out of the woods.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, at the forum reassured that with the sustenance of the financial discipline put in place by the Federal Government, the economy will witness positive changes.
Speaking at the annual dialogue of Daily Trust Newspaper, Mrs. Adeosun, expressed optimism that with the reform strategies to grow the non-oil sectors of the economy, the recession will soon be over.
“By the end of 2017, with most of the works done underground to reposition the economy, people will begin to see the impact,” the Minister said.
She, however, charged the National Assembly to repeal some obsolete laws, which are still in use in the public sector. For instance, she pointed out a 1957 public service law, which allowed the payment of salary to a dead worker until the production of death certificate as unnecessary.
“This 1957 Act is what is being used to manage the economy. When an ambassador dies in December, he still draws salaries up till May when the certificate of death is ready, because this is what the Act says,” she pointed out.
On what the Buhari government was doing to revamp the economy, the Minister stated that much had been recorded in areas of growing the non-oil sector, stating that much had been recorded in the fight against corruption in the public service the government was trying to lay the foundation for a long term.
“It is of note that government is spending in the right direction to grow the economy. We are also addressing weak fiscal discipline,” she said.
The Minister expressed happiness that some state governors are thinking outside the box to grow their internal revenue, while collaborating in the area of comparative advantage for economic advancement.
As part of strategic reforms, she said that government was looking to bringing the running of the CBN and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) under the Fiscal Responsibly Act.