Dr Aminu Usman of the Department of Economics, Kaduna State University, has advised the Federal Government to urgently constitute a formidable Economic Team to proffer solution to the current economic challenges.
Usman gave the advice in Abuja on Monday at the Annual General Meeting and Lecture of the 1988 Economics Set of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, with the theme: “Winning Back the Strength of the Naira: Prospect and Challenges.”
The don said government should, as a matter of urgency, “put in place an Economic Management Team that is not partisan but highly professional and a breed without greed.
“The government should select a team that will be committed and dedicated to the Nigerian Project to assist in designing appropriate economic policies for the country.
“The economic management team should ensure that export promotion incentives hitherto withdrawn, due to corruption and other vices, be restored.
“The team should cause certain tariffs and bans to be imposed on certain category of items in order to protect the local industries,’’ he said.
Usman said government and stakeholders must realise the urgent need to keep the currency strong and save it from continued depreciation and bastardisation.
The don advised that the team should also implement the Fiscal Responsibility Act to enforce financial discipline in the country.
To discourage over reliance on imports, Usman said the government should offer incentives to manufacturing firms to promote innovation, local content development, foreign exchange earning potential and employment generation.
According to him, the government should give agriculture, education and mineral sector priority attention so as to diversify and address the problem bedevilling the economy.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should address the recurring policy inconsistencies that characterised foreign exchange management and must be on top of policy issues.
“CBN should have in place a positive and complementary relationship between the fiscal and monetary policy,” he said.
He advised the government to embark on vigorous campaigns for buying made-in-Nigeria goods to help conserve our foreign exchange reserves and ease the pressure on the Naira.
“Buying local materials has the added advantage of alerting the entrepreneurial community of the existence of a gap in the market to be filled.
“To achieve that, government should evolve proper orientation strategies to promote patriotism and nationalism through the relevant agencies like National Orientation Agency,’’ he said.
Usman further advised government to develop the fashion, entertainment and Information and Communication Technology industries for exports to other African countries.
“The ubiquitous fashion houses could be grouped for standardisation of their products and creating an export focused fashion industry.
“The government should encourage Diaspora Nigerians to make remittances home and support Nigerians schooling abroad to take up appointments there in order to increase the inflow of foreign exchange to the country.
“There should be a structural shift in the economy and Nigeria should benchmark other successful developing countries,’’ he said.
Also speaking at same occasion, the lead discussant, Mr Aro Rasaq, the Managing Director of Nigerian Infrastructural Bank, urged the Federal Government to come up with monetary policies to strengthen the Naira.
Rasaq said that the country should concentrate on products that it has comparative advantage on to boost its foreign reserves, especially agricultural produce.
He said Nigeria should diversify the economy from oil, saying “we don’t need to be solely an oil exporting country to be prosperous.’’
In her remarks, Dr Salamatu Isah, Head of Department, Economics Department, ABU appreciated the contributions of the set to the development of the institution.
Isah said the set had been registered in the Alumni of the University and solicited support from the group to move the department forward. (NAN)