As Nigeria prepares for the inauguration of the incoming administration on 29 May 2023, stakeholders within the business community of the country has urged the incoming administration to implement business-friendly policies to grow Nigeria’s economy leveraging on the non-oil sector.
Oyindamola Adeyemi, executive chairperson, Still Earth Holdings, the multi-sector diversified group, while speaking recently at ‘The Economist’s The World Ahead 2023’ release event, advocated for the formulation and implementation of sound pro-business policies and incentives that promote an enabling environment for businesses to thrive as key factors for building a stronger economy.
Adeyemi, while talking on the resilience of the Nigerian economy, also pointed out that the economy is yet to achieve the expected bounce-back rate, primarily due to inflation and other disruptions in the ecosystem, including the contraction of the oil and gas sector resulting from low output.
“The Nigerian economy has remained resilient with moderate GDP growth post-pandemic period, albeit below expectation with a spiraling inflation. The non-oil sectors have continued to contribute positively, driven by agriculture, service industries, and construction while oil and gas contracted due to low outputs,” Adeyemi stated.
She also expressed optimism that Nigeria’s economy could experience a stronger rebound if and only the incoming administration formulates and implements the right policies. According to her, Still Earth Holdings with its diversified portfolios in construction, oil and gas, and finance, is uniquely positioned to drive the national economy forward.
Adeyemi equally emphasised the importance of a growth-oriented mindset among policymakers and private sector players to attract local and international investors to Nigeria and increase the risk appetite of the business sector.
She advocated for increased funding for MSMEs, especially for women, to accelerate growth, which she believes is the engine of socioeconomic development and job creation. “As a female-led Nigerian success story, I believe Still Earth Holdings is an indicator of what women can achieve. More women can contribute significantly to the country and continent development with suitable investment and equitable opportunities for females and female-led MSMEs,” Adeyemi stated.
However, Adeyemi also noted that inadequate infrastructure, limited access to credit, insecurity, foreign exchange shortages, low foreign direct investment, and climate change are critical factors that must be addressed by the incoming government.
“Across Africa, as corporate leaders we must continue to be community-minded and inclusive. Through our social responsibility programmes, Still Earth Holdings has made notable contributions to education and community development; and supporting foundations for cultural exchanges and creative research. We have also contributed to reducing delinquency, child labour and ending poverty by improving access to education for indigent students.”
In advocating further for a society that fosters socio-economic equity, the female entrepreneur emphasized partnership with the private sector as an important factor and appealed to the incoming administration to prioritise the creation of an enabling policy environment to attract more private sector investment.
“One thing I want to leave with you all is that the future is partner-driven. The broader private sector-led growth strategy across all sectors will benefit the nation immensely. The role of business leaders is critical in creating jobs, reducing unemployment, and establishing the conditions necessary for our enterprises to thrive,” she stated.