National 20.3.2017 12:32 pm

Take right fiscal, monetary measures, leading economist tells Nigerian govt

AFP / Pius Utomi Ekpei<br />The naira plunges against the US dollar after Nigeria's government scraps its fixed exchange rate

AFP / Pius Utomi Ekpei
The naira plunges against the US dollar after Nigeria's government scraps its fixed exchange rate

The economist added that recession was not a new thing in economic history, but it could lead to depression if not managed appropriately.

Emeritus Professor of Economics Uka Ezenwe has called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to come up with the right fiscal and monetary measures to take the economy out of recession.

Ezenwe, a professor at the University of Abuja, made the call on Monday at the capital city of Nigeria, saying the government should address the negative indexes in the economy.

He said that the reduction in inflation rate by 0.94 was not a sign that the country was coming out of recession.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) had stated in its February Consumer Price Index (CPI) that the index, which measured inflation, increased by 17.78 percent year-on-year.

It, however, stated that the increase was at a slower pace in February when compared to January consumer activities that was 18.72 percent.

Ezenwe said: “I don’t think we are getting out of recession yet, but the fact that inflation rate is not increasing, rather declining, is good news.

“We are not out of recession yet because there are so many things involved. The level of unemployment is very high. Nigeria is still an import reliant country, the exchange rate has not stabilised, CBN [Central Bank of Nigeria] has been working hard in a couple of weeks to see what it can do.

“Fiscal spending is not adequate, we are still looking for sources of raising fund to increase fiscal spending. I know that the measures outlined in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan will go a long way to help but we are yet to see those things in action,” he said.

The economist added that recession was not a new thing in economic history, but could lead to depression if not managed appropriately.

He said that it could be managed through fiscal measures such as budgetary measures, tax incentives and subsidy.

“Monetary level, through the manipulation of interest rate, exchange rate; the government can minimise the negative impact of recession through these measures,” he said.

Ezenwe also advised the government to ensure effective implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) to get the country out of the recession.

“The single biggest problem this country has is implementation of its good plans, policies and measures,” he said. “One thing is to put it on paper and another thing is to implement it. There is nothing actually new in what they are proposing; creation of employment, we have been taking about it.

“There is nothing bad about borrowing but what is important is to invest the money properly. Save liquidating projects – that is projects that will generate income to repay the loan.”

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