The need for Nigeria to revisit her economic policies especially in the wake of low oil price and rising threats from declining revenue, got a boost recently at the 2015 annual FBNQuest Investor Conference, held at the Intercontinental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos on Tuesday, 27th of October, 2015.
Themed “Re-inventing the Nigerian Economy: Beyond the Rhetoric”, the conference had in attendance notable stakeholders from the financial and economic sector as well as the oil and gas industry as guest speakers and panelists.
In his welcome address, Kayode Akinkugbe, MD/CEO of FBN Capital stated that the theme of the conference could is quite topical at this time, particularly with the wind of change currently sweeping the country. According to him, ‘We want to explore what initiatives and policies are necessary to unlock the inherent potential in the Nigerian market. How we do more with less and boost revenue whilst instilling fiscal discipline; where we have examples of successful reforms; and how we unlock private sector funding sources’..
Delivering a presentation on the topic “When Reforms Work: Lessons from Emerging and Frontier Markets”, Daniel Altman, Adjunct Associate Professor, New York University, Stern highlighted some impediments stalling economic growth in the country to include gender inequality, inadequate health coverage, over dependence on oil, obsolete taxing system etc.
He proposed immediate policies that the country could adopt in the next three years to achieve economic independence. “There is need to expand the health coverage, give land titles to the poor, enact a modern competition law, Negotiate a trade agreement with a major economy, create an autonomous anti-corruption authority, implement a quota for women in the National assembly as well as install a flat tax for simplicity and transparency during the economic transition,” he said.
Positive that the nation can still boost its revenue despite the current decline in growth, Dr Temitope Oshikoya, CEO Nextnomics and Dr. Ayo Teriba, CEO, Economic Associates, both panelists at the first session spoke on how the Federal Government can boost its revenue while instilling fiscal discipline.
According to Dr. Oshikoya, while it focuses on blocking bottleneck leakages, there is also need for the FG to show how much the transition to blocking leakages is impacting on the GDP. He called for the removal of subsidy, stating that instead, it should be diverted towards social welfare program.
Highlighting the state of the Petroleum industry, Victor Eromosele, CEO, ME Consulting who spoke on the topic “Reinventing and adequately financing the Nigerian Petroleum industry” stated that persistent oil prices compel a more efficient industry; both public and private. In his words, “The good news is that even under a low oil price regime, opportunities exist and those opportunities deserve financing despite the flight to safety and quality.”
He noted that the NNPC needs profit centres and not cost-centres to globally compete, adding that, existing joint ventures would need revamping to perform and existing PSCs reforms, despite understandable IOC-resistance.