NESG opposes land borders closure

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NESG opposes land borders closure

The Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG) has warned the Federal Government against wrong choice of economic policies, citing closure of land borders as one of such policies that could hinder economic growth.

The group, in a statement, however advised government to always consider its economic policy choices, before taking decision, in order to fast track economic growth, its recently launched 2021 Economic Outlook has said.

NESG stressed wrong policy choices were capable of casting a strain on the economy, citing the closure of land borders as one of such policies that ended up exacerbating the county’s economic challenges.

The NESG urged government to always liaise with relevant stakeholders, for a proper assessment of prevailing situations, before taking policy decisions.

Accordingly, wrong policy choices cast a strain on an ailing economy; even before the outbreak of COVID-19, the implementation of land border closure resulted in a decline in earnings from non oil exports.

“This policy decision reversed the few gains made in the last couple of years and further exacerbated the challenges facing the economy.

“In addition to a sharp and consecutive increase in prices, inflation rate rose from 11 percent in August 2019 to 14.9 percent in November 2020. The economy has recorded consecutive trade deficits since the fourth quarter of 2019.

“The closure was a heavy policy decision that required the input of the private sector, especially given its implications on businesses, both formal and informal players,’’ it said.

The group, however, commended the Federal Government for taking some hard policy decisions that would impact positively on the economy on the long run.

“Nigeria has implemented some tough reforms in 2020, such as removal of fuel and electricity subsidies and a massive programme on harmonisation of citizen’s data.

“These must be consolidated with swift implementation of security reforms and sanitising the business environment, both of which are crucial in attracting investments into critical sectors of the economy.

“In addition, state governments must be given the legislative and policy support to explore the opportunities and resources in their respective states. The urgency of these reforms must be prioritised, going into the next decade,’’ it advised.

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