Experts warn incoming govt on booby-traps


By Godwin Anyebe

Marketing Communications Experts and economists have warned the incoming government about policy loopholes that can derail the administration. They identified critical areas that have presently put Nigeria in bad shape which should be of major concern to the Bola Tinubu Administration.

These pit holes include: Risk-unconscious over-dependence on hydrocarbons – oil accounted for 90.5 per cent of merchandise trade in 2022; Poor policy coordination – Expansionary fiscal operations, driven by massive borrowings vis-à-vis contractionary monetary policy; Fiscal inefficiency and revenue leakages- recourse to borrowing (it is relatively easy) and doing so inefficiently (largely through CBN), largely funding recurrent expenditure; Counterproductive fiscal policies– Fiscal Policy Reform (FPR) weakening manufacturing activities and new investments; Misplaced priorities- Deepening brown economy and disregarding sub-national comparative advantage, and discourages productivity and weak social compact.

These were part of submissions at the 3rd National Policy Dialogue webinar organized by the Public Affairs Service of CMC Connect LLP, Perception Consulting, which took place on recently.

The Webinar themed, ‘Setting a Fiscal Policy Agenda for The Bola Ahmed Tinubu Administration’, aimed to foster a national discourse on the fiscal policy direction of the incoming government especially in the areas of regulations, taxation, excise duties and other policies that are making the ecosystem unfriendly for business growth.

The keynote Speaker, a distinguished economist renowned for his expertise in fiscal policy, banking, finance, and public sector consulting, Dr. Abiodun Adedipe stated that “The fiscal inefficiency, revenue leakages, misplaced priorities, risk-unconscious over-dependence on hydrocarbons, poor policy coordination, and counter-productive fiscal policies are the major reasons Nigeria is in a bad shape. However, I believe this discourse will serve as a platform to tell the incoming government the need to engage the private sector deeply in formulating and reshaping economic policies that will make Nigeria and the productive sectors bounce back, thereby promoting a better Nigeria,” he said

Furthermore, he said, “what we are selling to Tinubu`s administration is to set an agenda for ourselves, to be the top 10 economy in ten years’ time”. Dr. Adedipe eloquently elaborated on strategic directions for Bola Tinubu Government. He said, in the immediate, the incoming government should match non-oil revenue to recurrent spending, aggressively promote exports to the world market starting with African countries; strengthen domestic manufacturing, interrogating the nexus between import and export tariffs.

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Elaborating further, the policy expert and Chief Consultant at B. Adedipe Associates, recommended that the Tinubu government should ensure actionable, consistent, and coherent fiscal, trade and monetary policies by promoting high-level actions on policy coordination and ownership, unified voice on policy pronouncement, setting the right tone at the top, revamp reform on Ease of Doing Business, evaluate policies based on deliverables. He espoused that the government must expand non-oil fiscal space, push for tax/GDP ratio of 15 per cent and above, and align fiscal, monetary and trade policies.

The dialogue had a panel of discussants drawn from different sectors of the economy. They include Mr. Tilewa Adebajo, Chief Executive Officer of CFG Advisory; Mr. Vivian Ikem, Corporate Affairs and Communications Director at Japan Tobacco International; Mrs. Sade Morgan, Corporate Affairs Director at Nigerian Breweries Plc, ably represented by Mr. Uzo Odenigbo, Head of Public, External and Government Affairs, Nigerian Breweries Plc.

In his own submission, the Corporate Affairs and Communications Director at Japan Tobacco International, JTI, Mr. Vivian Ikem, who was a panelist, spoke about issues on policy consistency, stating that inconsistency in government policies can affect the drive of foreign direct investments. He urged the incoming government to ensure consistency of policies.

Other panelists Uzo Odenigbo and Tilewa Adebajo both submitted that the economy under the Tinubu administration should be data-driven. Data is key in comparative fiscal analysis with other markets and in policy formulations.

Adebajo advised that the incoming government should be people-centric in its policy formulations. Oil subsidy, he stated should not be removed at once. It has to be a gradual removal while refineries are being brought to optimal performance.

The former Ogun State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, and presently the Board Chairman of Odua Group Otunba Bimbo Ashiru, advised the incoming president to be very altruistic in his appointments into key positions that are germane to the success or otherwise of his administration. The former banker wants Mr. Bola Tinubu to follow in the footsteps of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo administration, by appointing Nigerians with capacity to run the economy irrespective of tribe, religion, and party affiliation.

He emphasized that the incoming administration should also prioritize agricultural transformation being the largest employer of labour and contributor to the gross domestic product of the economy.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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