Nigerian economic experts on Monday called on the Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to roll out an economic blueprint with the prospects of transforming the social fortunes of the entire citizenry for the better.
They were speaking at the ongoing annual conference of the Nigerian Economic Society (NES), holding in Abuja.
Akpan Ekpo, director-general of the Lagos-based West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM), who was guest speaker at the conference, insisted that the present administration must implement a democratic, developmental economic blueprint in order to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth, without which, “Nigeria will not meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the end of 2015.”
Ekpo further said that the country’s real sector had been most hit by recent dwindling economic fortunes, with data showing that services performed better than the real sector in 2014, contributing 52.1 and 54.36 percent to national GDP in 2014 and in the second quarter of 2015, respectively.
According to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the oil and gas sector’s contribution to Nigeria’s GDP was 8.97 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, representing a 1.48 percent drop from its 10.45 percent contribution to GDP in the third quarter of 2014.
Also, the mining and quarrying sector recorded a negative growth of 7.91 percent (year-on-year) in the first quarter of 2015, 1.52 percentage points lower than the 6.39 percent growth rate recorded in the First Quarter of 2014, and 9.27 percentage points lower than growth rates estimate for Fourth quarter of 2014.
For the manufacturing sector, nominal GDP growth for the first quarter of 2015 was estimated at 1.25 percent (year-on-year), 18.80 percent lower than the 20.05 percent recorded in the corresponding period of 2014. The growth was also17.87 percentage points less than it was in the fourth quarter 2014estimate.
This has been blamed on higher operating costs on the heels of dwindling foreign exchange earnings from crude oil sales and the associated naira weakness against the dollar with respect to manufacturing raw material imports.
Also speaking, the former minister of finance, Shamsudeen Usman, lamented the absence of senior figures in the Muhammadu Buhari-led government at the summit, which he noted was of great managerial significance to the nation’s fragile economy.
“Not even an official from the National Planning Commission, which used to collaborate with NES in organizing this event during my time there is here,” Usman lamented.
The former finance minister was also minister of national planning and chairman, national planning commission at a time.
He then suggested that all resolutions and recommendations arrived at be sent to the president and various agencies of government for possible adoption and implementation in order to guide the process of governance in the country.
Of the key personalities invited to occasion, only Joe Abbah represented the secretary to the government of the federation at the occasion.
In his opening remarks, Olu Ajakaiye, the president of NES, said, “at the end of the summit, policy briefs will be distributed to various government agencies, private sector institutions, and civil society organisations.”