National Economic Dialogue Critical in Confronting Challenges of Nigerian Economy

From the Boko Haram insurgency that has ravaged the North-East for more than a decade to the recent spate of kidnappings, armed banditry, jailbreaks, farmer-herder clashes and the brewing anti-government violence in the North-East and North-West, Nigeria faces insecurity in unprecedented proportions.

This reflects the government’s lack of capacity to protect the lives and property of Nigerians. Hence, hard and truthful conversations must be had on the imperatives of ensuring that the actions and state of the country testify to a sacrosanct value of Nigerian lives.

Security is a promoter of national development. Sustainable development cannot be achieved without peace and security in any nation.

Enforcing peace and adequate security involves a wide range of efforts by different government and civil society actors at the community, national and international levels to address the primary causes of violence and ensure that people are free from fear of humiliation and conflicts.

There is a correlation between all the causes of insecurity and the crises of underdevelopment in Nigeria, particularly in the area of abject poverty, unemployment, lack of functional industries, low foreign investment, diversion of public funds, youth restiveness, religious and social violence, poor tourist attraction, and negative effect on the psychological wellbeing of the citizenry.

The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) recently announced that it would convey a National Economic Dialogue with the objectives of arousing national consciousness about the state of the economy by evaluating the performance of key socioeconomic indicators, discussing the key opportunities and risks facing the Nigerian economy amid global instability and fragility and deliberate reform options to shape the future path of the Nigerian economy, with more emphasis placed on a solid political will to implement tough reforms.

The NESG also said that its National Economic Dialogue would identify the underlying drivers of insecurity which is central to determining investors’ perspectives and sentiments about the Nigerian economy, and help shape and elevate political campaigns and manifestoes in the matter of the state of the economy and actionable policy interventions.

A National Economic Dialogue is vital at this point of our national life as there is an urgent need for the government to address six critical challenges, including weak and non-inclusive economic growth, macroeconomic instability, Infrastructure deficit, Human capital deficit and skills gap, National insecurity and Weak economic competitiveness.

Holding a National Economic Dialogue would help galvanise a renewed commitment of stakeholders across Nigeria to urgently and actively prioritise the pursuit of economic growth that can sustainably create jobs, lift millions out of poverty and enable Nigeria to realise its economic potential on the global stage; identify the vital imperatives of leveraging modern technology to accelerate significant improvements in the social, economic and security conditions of Nigeria, and help generate a broader populist consensus around the profile of the ideal transformational leader as a candidate acceptable to and electable by the voting public.

It is hoped that this National Economic Dialogue will help position and drive a consensus towards an economic plan that will be based on selecting appropriate candidates for all elective positions as well as help to generate a broader populist consensus around the profile of the ideal transformational leader, who should be a candidate that will be electable and acceptable to the voting public.

Nigeria must address the fundamental reasons for agitations by listening, understanding, removing prejudices, and allowing for open, national dialogues, without preconditions, but with the goal to build a cohesive, united, fair, just and equitable nation for all.

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Michael john

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