Dr Olisa Agbakoba, the former president of the Nigerian Bar Association, (NBA) , on Tuesday, September 6 expressed concerns about the recession currently facing Nigeria.
The legal expert said that the recession may continue until 2020, if the President Muhammadu Buhari’s government does not put measures in place to get the economy back on track.
Agbakoba while speakin in Lagos, said that he took a critical look at Nigeria’s current economic predicament and the factors contributingg seem to be inflation, high interest rates, unemployment, weak infrastructure, lower oil price and an economy with no capacity for growth.
According to Vanguard, the legal practitioner, in a statement made available to journalists, said that there was a need to develop a coherent fiscal, trade and monetary policy.
The human rights and maritime lawyer, pointed out that cohesion was needed at this point, that the tight liquidity operated by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, where it jerked up its Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) to 14 per cent is ridiculous, adding that CBN’s focus on Forex management is rather encouraging round tripping and creating asymmetry in the system.
He also advised the CBN to focus on productive value of the economy and not the numerical value of the naira, saying: “The full deregulation of the forex market to allow level playing field and removing distortions such as round tripping, will ensure that at least $20 billion inflow will instantly occur.”
The former NBA Chairman, then went on to list a number of solutions for President Buhari to revive the economy saying that there was an immediate need for “a presidential proclamation at the National Assembly, switching from austerity to growth policy, the federal government needs to spend more to boost growth.”
Agbakoba, however, pointed that contrary to popular opinion, President Buhari does not need the envisaged economic emergency powers to make a turnaround. He noted that former President Shehu Shagari had it in his time and still failed, adding that the so-called economic emergency powers is also not working in Venezuela.
Agbakoba said that to revive the economy: “Nigeria must spend its way out of recession; establish a National Treatment Policy- Fiscal and trade Protection Policy, establish urgently a Development and Guarantee Bank; prepare Public Sector Borrowing Requirement, PSBR and borrow as our debt Ratio can sustain this, as well as develop Assets securitisation.”
In conclusion, the lawyer said that there is need for the Federal Government to pay-off the country’s domestic debt to inject liquidity in the system.
He suggested that FG must give the Treasury Single Account, TSA money back to the banks at single digit rates and supervise the banks, even as he recommended lending base rate of 5 per cent.
Meanwhile, earlier today, September 6, at the APC grand finale campaign in Edo state, President Buhari had expressed optimism when he spoke on the state of the economy.
“We are a nation of great human and material resources especially the youth. Please seat down and reflex and remember what I said 30 years ago. We have no other nation like Nigeria, no matter where you go,” he said in part.