Organised private sector proffers ways out of recession •Identifies 13 challenges bedevilling economy

From left, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma; Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, at the presidential quarterly business forum, in Abuja, on Monday. PHOTO: NAN

ORGANISED Private Sector (OPS) and other stakeholders, on Monday, listed ways to get Nigeria out of the present economic recession.

Meeting under the first Presidential Quarterly Business Forum, it  identified 13 challenges, which, it said, were the clog in the wheel of Nigeria’s economic recovery.

Some of the factors pointed out were access to finance, access to foreign exchange, high interest rates and high cost of energy.

The meeting, which took place at the Old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, had in attendance members of the Economic Management Team, led by the Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.

They also identified other important challenges, such as transport and infrastructural deficit, weak export support, inconsistent government policies and absence of clear investment policies.

Other impediments, according to the OPS, were ease of doing business and approval delays, low support for domestic manufacturing, customs delay and security.

The combined effect of these factors, they pointed out, crumbled the economy, which had thrived in the last five years.

The OPS, therefore, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take necessary steps to address the situation.

In his remark, Vice-President Osinbajo reiterated that the current economic recession was caused by militants blowing up oil and gas infrastructure in the Niger Delta.

Noting that from a daily crude oil production of 2.2 million barrels upon which the budget was predicated, Nigeria was now producing at less than 1.1 million barrels, a situation he said was a source of concern.

“Perhaps it is important for us to understand the nature of this recession in which we have found ourselves. In discussing this, there is the tendency for people to generalise, a lot depend on what sort of recession and how we got here.

“If we did not have vandalism in the Niger Delta as we are currently suffering, we will not have this recession today. Moreover, in looking at the solutions, we should try to focus on the type of problem we have and what instigated it, then we can begin to come up with better solutions,” he said.

The vice-president pledged government’s readiness to address power sector challenges, saying it would require a “revolution” to shore up power to adequate level nationwide.

“If the Dangote refinery comes on stream, it will help us overcome some of those challenges, like the sub-sea gas pipelines, it will take care of vandalism.

“But I think the more important thing is how to clean up the mess in the power sector, especially infrastructure. In the short-term, we will try to bring up power to an appreciable level to help the manufacturing sector,” he said.