By Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma/Sandra Umeh
Some financial experts have urged the Federal Government to pursue policies that would accelerate infrastructural rehabilitation and development as well as help tackle rising unemployment and population.
The experts made the appeal in separate interviews with told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
They were reacting to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele’s statement on May 22, that the country risked sliding back into recession if spiraling unemployment rate was not checked.
Emeifelee also said that the country’s economic growth was not growing at par with its population growth.
The CBN Governor, who spoke at the third Eminent Lecture Series of the University of Benin, said recent projection by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that Nigeria would become the third most populated country after China and India should be taken seriously.
Prof. Sheriffdeen Tella, Professor of Economics, Olabisi Onabanjo University Ago-Iwoye, Ogun said that government must ensure quick passage of yearly budget and timely release of funds to accelerate infrastructural and other developments.
“The economy has not been growing as fast as it should be and no thanks to the tight money policy of the CBN and persistent delay in budget approval by the outgoing legislature.
“When an economy is coming out of recession, reflating the economy through directing credit to the real sector, particularly agriculture and manufacturing is essential,” Tella told NAN.
He stressed that the Bank of Industry and Agriculture must be empowered to perform their duties in ensuring credit flow to the real sector.
Tella said that government should redirect its focus by empowering the real sector, noting that real sector contributions would accelerate economic growth.
On population control, he said that government needed to revitalise education sector to reduce illiteracy in the country.
“We have to improve on the level of literacy as literate people know the importance of small family size to enjoy some quality standard of living.
“Poor people see large family as God’s compensation for their poverty.
“Also, rapid electricity supply in the rural areas through solar technology can keep the rural people awake for large part of nights by watching television programmes,” he said.
Tella explained that affordable and quality education and employment are of essence to curb rapid population growth, adding that no amount of legislation or use of contraceptives can solve the problem.
“The country can use tax reduction to generate employment and still earn the same amount or more from personal income tax.
“There is the need for planning the future of Nigeria going into the next decade,” Tella said.
Mr Sola Oni, a chartered stockbroker and Chief Executive Officer, Sofunix Investment and Communications, lamented over the country’s increasing unemployment rate.
“Unemployment in Nigeria is growing in leaps and bounds. At present, unemployment rate is conservatively hovering around 23 percent.
“If government tackles unemployment, particularly among the youths, it will have a multiplier effects of reducing insecurity. The way forward is not rocket science,” Oni said.
He urged government to create an enabling environment for business opportunities to thrive.
“Most of the existing companies are operating below capacity while high cost of doing business makes it almost impossible for new companies to spring up.
“Apart from the need for deliberate policy of bridging infrastructure gaps, government should encourage entrepreneurship with fiscal incentives.
“When companies operate optimally, they will expand and also create opportunities for our large unemployed group to work and contribute to the Gross Domestic Product ( GDP),” Oni added.
He said that government should pursue some fiscal policies, such as tax holiday for new entrants into any sector, patronage of products and services of companies in Nigeria. (NAN)