By Adebola Adegoke
Financial experts have stressed the need for the Federal Government to implement the National Development Plan 2021-2025 (NDP) to spur the country’s economic growth.
The experts said this at a webinar on Saturday with the theme: “Resetting Nigeria’s Economic Growth Trajectory.”
They said that practical measures should be adopted to implement the plans to enhance revenue generation.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NDP which succeeds the Vision 20:2020 introduced in 2009 and the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan is a bridge for the country’s long-term plan currently being developed, “Nigeria Agenda 2050”.
The vision of the plan is to unlock the country’s potential across all sectors of the economy for a sustainable, holistic, and inclusive national development.
Mr Lamido Yuguda, the Director-General, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), said that the implementation of NDP would boost productivity, employment and the standards of living.
Yuguda, represented by Mr Dayo Obisan, Executive Commissioner of Operations, SEC, said that the successful execution of the NDP was critical to achieving economic growth since its objectives cut across all sectors of the economy.
“The Federal Government already has several laudable economic plans and the focus should be on increasing the level of implementation of these plans.
“The NDP is one of such plans that the government can focus which is aimed at fostering economic growth and enhancing productivity.
“One of its broad objectives is on economic diversification to improve non-oil revenue and increase the dollar earning power of our non-oil export.
“It also focuses on investment in infrastructure; security and good governance; education and a healthy population; poverty alleviation; economic and social development across states,” he said.
Mrs Chizor Malize, the Managing Director, Financial Institution Training Centre (FITC), emphasised the need to transit from a consumer nation to production for increased export capacity.
According to her, the government should take cues from Asian countries on how they develop their economies, especially in the areas of public health, transportation, technology and housing.
Malize said that the best way to drive large-scale employment was by reviewing policies on education and curriculum to equip and stimulate youths to become employers of labour.
She called on the government and other relevant stakeholders to consistently create an enabling environment to foster micro, small and medium-scale enterprises.
“In China, we see a lot of strength and sophistication around technology but it will interest you to know that China started its reform through agriculture.
“China recognise the importance of food security and alleviating people from poverty, so they leveraged investment in agricultural policies to create change and catalyse growth and empowerment.
“One of the biggest things that drove Singapore’s success is visionary leadership because they deliberately tied political stability to economic growth.
“Singapore was deliberate about infrastructure in public health, transportation and housing as well as free market principles where businesses can thrive and attract foreign investors without the huge tax burden.
“Japan was crushed after World War 2 but now, manufacturing has elevated Japan and allowed them to command respect across the world,” she said.
Malize added that the FITC was doing a lot to empower the youth with its development-focused projects in the areas of innovation, environment, agriculture, technology and health.
Also speaking, Mr Johnson Chukwu, the Managing Director, Cowry Asset Management Ltd., urged the government to do more in growing the manufacturing, Information Communication Technology (ICT) and trade sectors, as these were key drivers of economic growth.
Chukwu said that growing the manufacturing sector involved addressing factors such as infrastructure, power supply, logistics, seaports for import and export of goods, transportation and availability of development finance initiatives.
He also stressed the need to develop human capital in the sector by ensuring the availability of quality education to build skills and capacity as well as produce quality goods for competitive advantage to attract investors.
“The ICT sector contributes about 16.2 per cent to the economy. It is the new and digital economy and the government must do everything to encourage the sector,” he said.
On his part, Mr Taiwo Oyedele, Fiscal Policy Partner and Africa Tax Leader, PwC, called on the government to harmonise taxes and demonstrate value for it to citizens; to encourage tax morale, and boost government’s revenue.
Oyedele said that tax evasion in the public sector also posed a great challenge for the government as it was losing revenue.
“The biggest tax evasion in Nigeria is in the public sector, with Ministries Departments and Agencies not remitting taxes to the government.
“Government has to think about harmonising taxes because the number of taxes and number of agencies collecting it is too many.
“Nigerians are paying taxes but the government is not getting it due to corruption, leakages and inefficiency.
“Therefore, to solve the revenue challenges, the government should address these leakages with automation, intelligence and data,” he added. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Chinyere Bassey/Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma