Hard Times ahead for Nigerian Economy – ex-CBN Deputy Gov

A former Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Tunde Lemo, has said the country should expect a further shrinkage in economic activities this year.

He said the impact of this projected shrinkage would be especially felt across the major sectors of the economy. He, therefore, advised Government to intensify efforts towards diversifying the economy.

He stated this at the 61st Annual National Convention of the Foursquare Gospel Church.

The event, held at the Foursquare National Headquarters in Lagos, had as its theme, ‘The Nigerian Economy: The past, present and the future’.

Mr. Lemo, according to a statement issued, said it was regrettable that despite the progress made by the country on the political front, available indices “have unveiled the painful lop-sidedness of Nigeria’s economic prosperity.”

He was quoted as saying, “Nigeria economic activities are expected to shrink by 1.8 per cent in 2016 in a bid to adjust to foreign currency shortages as a result of lower oil receipts, low power generation and weak investors’ confidence. These will affect the major sectors of the economy.

“We need to key into ways to reform the economy and drive toward diversification.”

The ex-CBN deputy governor said the country’s Gross Domestic Product had contracted by -0.36% in the first quarter of this year, which he said was “a likely indication that the economy would record another negative growth in the second quarter.”

“The country has been badly hit by unemployment rate at 12.1% with exports dropping by 34.6%, while imports declined by 7.8% in the first quarter of 2016,” Lemo observed.

He said Nigerians should demand from the President Muhammadu Buhari administration an urgent diversification of the economy.

Lemo explained, “The present administration advocated for anti-corruption and economic reform during the past election, but it has not succeeded in proving to Nigerians and the world its capacity to bring about economic reformation. Its major headache lies in how to rejig the Nigerian economy and set it back on a growth trajectory.

“We have to insist on economic reform and diversification to revamp the economy, because it can help to deliver inclusive growth in the system.”

He said Nigeria had slid into economic recession, pointing out that a country would be in a recession when it records two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth as measured by its GDP.

“The country's economic is in recession. What we need now is massive fiscal policy to revive the economy. Government has to pump more money into the economy and not just on capital projects.”