Navigating Nigeria’s economic turbulence through forward focus action

By Elvis Eromosele

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Nigeria is a complex country. It is facing significant challenges across nearly every sector. Today, the confluence of rising insecurity, galloping inflation, and diminishing productivity has plunged the nation into an economic turbulence or quagmire. As prices soar and manufacturers shutter their operations, the imperative for decisive action to foster economic recovery and stability has never been more urgent.

The urgency is palpable. Government business as usual would not cut. It is time that the government explore how a forward-focused approach can serve as a beacon of hope, guiding the government in charting a path towards sustainable economic rejuvenation.

Experts concede that Nigeria’s economy is facing a tough combination of problems, all making each other worse. Insecurity, fueled by insurgency, banditry, and communal conflicts, has, sadly, claimed and continues to claim countless lives. It equally scares away investors, disrupts the flow of goods and upsets supply chains, making it harder for businesses to operate. This instability coupled with galloping inflation, currently exceeding double digits, has rendered necessities unaffordable for many Nigerians, worsening poverty and fueling social tensions.

In addition, factories are shutting down, which, those who should know insists, is a sign of deeper issues in the economy. The result is that the country is producing less, which can further reduce growth and make it harder to fight poverty. These problems are all connected and need to be addressed urgently to improve Nigeria’s economic situation.

Amidst these daunting challenges, a forward-focused approach offers a strategic framework for the government to navigate the complexities of economic recovery. Rather than being mired in the quagmire of past failures, forward focus entails proactive planning, innovation, and collaboration to forge a path towards sustainable growth. According to Forbes, “Forward thinking is looking at something everyone around you labels a problem, and pondering how it might become an opportunity.” Now, forward focus is not merely a theoretical concept but a practical imperative for governments seeking to navigate complex economic challenges and foster sustainable development.

At the heart of Nigeria’s economic resurgence lies the imperative of restoring security and stability. To move forward, the government must prioritize comprehensive security reforms, bolstering law enforcement capabilities, and fostering collaboration with regional and international partners to combat terrorism, insurgency and criminality. Investment in intelligence gathering, community policing initiatives, and socio-economic development programs in conflict-prone regions can address the root causes of insecurity (poverty) and lay the foundation for economic revitalization. The government must heed the calls for state police. By involving people who live in troubled areas, the government can create solutions that are more likely to succeed.

To address the galloping inflation requires a comprehensive approach encompassing monetary policy, fiscal discipline, and targeted interventions. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) must implement prudent monetary policies to rein in inflationary pressures while fostering a conducive environment for investment and economic activity. Simultaneously, the government must exercise fiscal discipline, rationalise public expenditure, and enhance revenue generation through progressive taxation and anti-corruption measures. After many false starts, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu appears to have gotten the memo that the current high cost of government is not sustainable. The recent executive order, which instructs Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) to reduce the size of official delegations for both foreign and domestic trips by up to 60 per cent, along with the Federal Executive Council’s approval to implement Steve Oronsaye’s report on merging and scrapping MDAs, are instructional.

Moreover, to reverse the tide of diminishing productivity and revive the manufacturing sector, the government must adopt a holistic approach encompassing regulatory reforms, infrastructure development, and investment incentives. Streamlining bureaucratic processes, improving access to credit, and providing technical assistance to small and medium enterprises can catalyze entrepreneurial activity and spur industrial growth. Moreover, strategic investments in critical infrastructure such as power, transportation, and telecommunications are imperative to enhance productivity and competitiveness on a global scale. The answer is definitively not in the number of foreign trips. The government must put its house to attract much-needed foreign direct investments.

Central to forward focus is the cultivation of a long-term vision for economic development and prosperity. So, governments must move beyond short-term fixes and political expediency, articulating clear goals, priorities, and strategies for sustainable development. It must build resilience into the economic systems, institutions, and policies, ensuring they can withstand shocks, adapt to changing circumstances, and bounce back stronger.

In confronting the daunting economic challenges plaguing Nigeria, a forward-focused approach offers a beacon of hope, guiding the government in charting a path towards recovery and stability. By prioritizing security reforms, inflation management, and productivity revitalization, Nigeria can unlock its immense potential and gain inclusive growth and prosperity for all its citizens.

Success, however, will hinge on political will, visionary leadership, and collective action to surmount the formidable obstacles on the path to economic renewal.

Eromosele, a corporate communication professional writes via: elviseroms@gmail.com

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