Tinubu’s advisors outline to-do list for $1 trillion economy - BUSINESSDAY
BY Olamide Ologunagbe
With a roadmap in place, the Policy Advisory Council of the new administration of President Bola Tinubu has put forward an ambitious proposal to propel Nigeria’s economy to $1 trillion within the next eight years.
According to the recently released Policy Advisory Council Report, dated May 2023, the Federal Government aims to achieve this economic milestone by implementing a series of initiatives.
This is being expected as President Tinubu, at the meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC), headed by Vice President, Kashim Shettima, on Thursday, acknowledged the enormous task ahead.
“The task of growing our economy is enormous, but you and I asked for this job. We campaigned for it, we danced for it and even begged for it, so we have no reason to complain,” Tinubu told Nigerian 36 state governors, at the inauguration of the NEC yesterday.
The policy advisory council’s initiatives will target a consistent average annual GDP growth rate of seven percent, ensuring sustainable economic expansion.
Members of the Policy Advisory Council Tokunbo Abiru, a banker and politician, Yemi Cardoso, the former chairman of Citibank Nigeria, Samaila Zubairu, president and/CEO at Africa Finance Corporation and Doris Anite, Imo State commissioner for finance and coordinating economy.
In achieving its $1 trillion economy by 2030, the council said there is a need to declare a state of emergency in revenue generation and national security, transforming key agencies such as the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigerian Customs Service, and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) into the Nigerian Revenue Service, that will collect all direct and indirect taxes, as well as levies on behalf of the Federal Government.
It also listed the reform of the central bank, implementation of civil service reform/ Oronsaye report, unlocking of the potential of the solid minerals sector, making of interim leadership appointments (to be ratified later by the National Assembly) and temporary increase in fiscal circuit-breakers, e.g. debt limits, later ratified by the National Assembly.
In outlining the steps, the roadmap outlines a series of strategic measures that encompass fiscal policy, monetary policies, the capital market, and the industry and trade sectors.
Under the fiscal policy, the government’s roadmap focuses on tackling issues like oil theft and pipeline vandalism, while also aiming to significantly boost oil and gas production.
The plan involves rationalising selected government assets, restructuring and automating revenue-generating agencies to enhance tax collection, optimising operating expenditure to reduce costs and leakages, and announcing the impending elimination of the PMS subsidy, which has already taken effect since the president’s inauguration.
In terms of monetary policies, the council intends to transition to a transparent and unified foreign exchange rate system and also resolve the cash shortage situation which shook the economy from December 2022 into the first quarter of the year as a result of the naira redesign under the last administration.
It also seeks to establish a coordinating body for fiscal and monetary policy and reform the operating model of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
It also stated it will establish the exchange rate to N550-600 as the target band for the naira-dollar exchange rate, achieve an interest rate of nine percent, and have a 13 percent inflation rate all within 8 years.
Within the capital market, it intends to issue long-term, high-yielding debt securities, such as special purpose bonds, for dedicated projects in areas like agriculture and industry.
Additionally, the government aims to facilitate increased participation of pension funds and insurance companies in the capital market.
In the industry (manufacturing) and trade sectors, the roadmap emphasizes the need for regulatory reforms to create a business-friendly environment and attract investments.
The goal is to transform Nigeria into Africa’s most efficient trading nation, increase the contribution of non-oil exports to GDP, boost the manufacturing sector’s contribution to GDP, and position the country as the top investment destination among Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Turkey (MINT) economies FDI.
In addition to the goal of achieving an economy of 1 trillion dollars, the council outlined several other targets and aspirations. These include lifting 100 million people out of poverty, creating an enabling environment to generate over 50 million jobs, and delivering sustained inclusive growth.
Furthermore, the government has set its sights on reducing the unemployment rate from 33 percent to 17 percent within the span of eight years. Additionally, it aims to create 7.2 million jobs by the year 2030.