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Recession: Group calls for inclusion of elites to fix economy

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By Gabriel Chy Alonta

Following reports that Nigeria had plunged into the second economic recession in five years, a non-partisan group, the Academic Frontiers Initiative (AFI), has called on the Federal Government to urgently constitute a committee of elites to lift the country out of the pangs of recession.

According to the group, the federal government must look beyond party politics to select eminent personalities across various divides, who are vast and knowledgeable with the economy to chart a new course for the nation.

AFI National Coordinator, Dr. Chinedu Onyeizugbe and General Secretary, Dr. Tochukwu Oguegbe, who disclosed this to newsmen in Awka, the Anambra state capital, also faulted the present and past administrations for the economic woes that had befallen Nigeria.

They, therefore, called on all political aspirants who may be interested in taking over the Aso Rock Villa, come 2023, to ensure they are competent to transform the nation into greatness.

Corroborating the call by AFI, a former presidential candidate in the last general elections and political economist, Prof. Kingsley Moghalu says Nigeria’s economy will not be transformed until the country is led by an intellectual and competent leader.

Moghalu, who was reacting to a report of Nigeria sliding into another recession via his Twitter page, said the report was not surprising, while remarking that COVID-19 pandemic was no excuse for Nigeria to slide into another recession.

He said unless the problem of leadership selection and constitution structure is addressed, Nigeria’s economy cannot create wealth for its citizens except for those with political connections.

Similarly, a former vice presidential candidate and two term governor of Anambra state, Mr. Peter Obi, while commenting on the economic recession, said there was need to cut down cost of governance at all levels in Nigeria if the country must come out of recession.

He said via a tweet, “For Nigeria to pull itself out of this economic recession, the 2nd in the last 5 years, there’s a compelling need to cut the pork out of the budget and expenditure at all levels of government and redirect the economy from a wasteful consumption-based one to a productive economy”.

Orient Daily recalls that Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy, entered its second recession in five years as official figures published last Saturday showed that the economy shrank again in the third quarter of 2020. This year’s recession, occasioned by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, is worse than that of 2016, the report shows.

Also, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report for Q3, said the GDP, the broadest measure of economic prosperity, fell by 3.62 in the three months to September.

“Economists consider two consecutive quarters of shrinking GDP as the technical definition of a recession.

“For the first time in more than three years, the Nigerian economy shrank in the second quarter of this year as the GDP fell by 6.10 per cent, compared with a growth of 1.87 per cent in Q1.

“The NBS had said in August that the economic decline in Q2 was largely attributable to significantly lower levels of both domestic and international economic activity resulting from nationwide shutdown efforts aimed at containing the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It said the contraction in Q2 brought to an end the three-year trend of low but positive real growth rates recorded since the 2016/17 recession.

“The economy, which emerged from its first recession in 25 years in Q2 2017 when it posted a 0.7 per cent growth, had continued its slow recovery since then but the COVID-19 crisis made things worse.

“In 2016, the economy slipped into recession in Q2 as the GDP shrank by 2.1 per cent after falling by 0.4 per cent in Q1 on the back of the steep fall in global crude oil prices and the country’s production volumes.

“Last month, the World Bank revised its 2020 forecast for Nigeria’s economy to -4.1 per cent from its previous projection of -3.2 per cent, saying the country’s near-term outlook was subject to “considerable uncertainty”, NBS reports read in parts.

Recall also that the World Bank had predicted in June that the collapse in crude oil prices, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, was expected to “plunge the Nigerian economy into a severe recession, the worst since the 1980s”.

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