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On tuesday, some Some notable economists  urged
the President Muhammadu-led administration to review, as a matter of
urgency, its economies policies or risk further decline in the economic
fortunes of the country. This is coming as the recession worsens.

They insisted that the current economic
policies of the government were not making the desired impact, hence the
need for a comprehensive review.

This came a day after the National
Bureau of Statistics released data showing that the economy recorded
negative growth in the third quarter of this year, making it the third
consecutive quarter of decline

It also came hours after the Central
Bank of Nigeria’s Monetary Policy Committee met and left all the key
economic variables, including the benchmark interest rate, which
economists have been calling for its reduction, unchanged.
The economy had fallen into a recession in June, after recording negative growth in the first and second quarters of this year.
The Founder, Centre for Values in
Leadership, Prof. Pat Utomi; and Chief Executive Officer, Financial
Derivatives Company Limited, Mr. Bismarck Rewane, said unless certain
reviews were made to the existing policies, the economy would record
another negative growth in the fourth quarter of this year.
Rewane said, “The policies have to
complement one another. The fiscal policy is moving in the right
direction, but it is not enough. We need increased stimulus and
increased injection. But we cannot do this with the current level of
interest rates.
“Therefore, something has to happen to
bring the interest rates down. The monetary policy has to be consistent
with the fiscal policy, or else we will continue to have contraction.
And more than anything else, the foreign exchange market has to be
reformed. The foreign exchange market, as it is currently constituted,
is a bridge to nowhere.”
He told one of correspondents on Tuesday
that although the economic management team had done its best, some
decisions were also taken very late
“To be honest, the government has done
as best it could. But it could have done better in the sense that
certain decisions were late. Certain decisions and actions were
inadequate. They were right policies, but the dose of the medication and
the timing were not aligned,” Rewane added.
Utomi said it was obvious that the
economy was in a crisis and there was an urgent need for all
stakeholders to come together to chart ways out of the present
predicament.
He said, “We are dealing with a complex
problem. We know generally they are underperforming. I don’t think we
are having quality public conversation.
“At this time that this country is in a
major national crisis, we are in a state worse than war. What we need is
a war cabinet in which we all as Nigerians come together to discuss
what we can do to reconstruct the falling walls of Nigeria.
“There have been reluctance to invest.
Investors have generally held back. If business confidence is negative,
obviously there will be a slowdown. Contrary to suggestions by
government officials that we will be out of recession December, the
indicators that I am hearing about suggest that things will even get
worse.”
A professor of Economics at the Olabisi
Onabanjo University, Sherriffdeen Tella, said the economy would record
another negative growth in the fourth quarter, because the monetary
authority was busy mopping up liquidity from the system, while the
fiscal authority was trying to inject same into it.
He said, “The GDP will continue to fall
as long as the fiscal and monetary authorities’ policies do not align.
The liquidity the CBN is trying to mop up is not in the banking system
but in peoples’ vaults at home, farmlands and other places.
“I have said four months ago that the
only way we can address that is to change the colour of the N500 and
N1,000 notes. We need to reduce the interest rate and boost economic
activities.”
A professor of Economics at the
University of Uyo, Leo Ukpong, said the government needed to choose
between high inflation and high unemployment.
He said, “The CBN needs to cut interest
rate so that businesses can access loans, services their loans and boost
investment. If things continue like this, we will record another
negative growth and January, most employers will sack massively
again.”
The Chief Executive Officer, Cowry Asset
Management Limited, Mr. Johnson Chukwu, said there was a need to inject
liquidity into the local economy reducing the benchmark interest
rate, and inject liquidity into the forex market accessing forex line
from the International Monetary Fund to stabilise the naira exchange
rate.

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