Emeritus professor of economics, Uka Ezenwe, has called on the Federal Government to come up with the right fiscal and monetary measures to take the economy out of recession.
Ezenwe, who made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Abuja, said the government should address the negative indexes in the economy, as reduction in inflation rate by 0.94 percent was not a sign that the country was coming out of recession.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) had stated in its February Consumer Price Index (CPI) that the index, which measured inflation, increased by 17.78 percent year-on-year.
It, however, noted that the increase was at a slower pace in February, when compared with January consumer activities that was 18.72 percent.
“I don’t think we are getting out of recession yet, but the fact that inflation rate is not increasing rather declining is good news. We are not out of recession yet because there are so many things involved; the level of unemployment is very high.
“Nigeria is still an import reliant country, the exchange rate has not stabilised, and CBN has been working hard in a couple of weeks to see what it can do. Fiscal spending is not adequate; we are still looking for sources of raising fund to increase fiscal spending. I know that the measures outlined in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan will go a long way to help but we are yet to see those things in action,’’ he said.
Recession was not a new thing in economic history but could lead to depression if not managed appropriately, the economist said, saying that it could be managed through fiscal measures such as budgetary measures, tax incentives and subsidy.
“Monetary level, through the manipulation of interest rate, exchange rate; the government can minimise the negative impact of recession through these measures,” he said.
He also advised the government to ensure effectively implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) to get the country out of the recession.
“The single biggest problem this country has is implementation of its good plans, policies and measures. One thing is to put it on paper and another thing is to implement it.
“There is nothing actually new in what they are proposing; creation of employment, we have been talking about it. There nothing bad about borrowing but what is important is to invest the money properly. Save liquidating projects – that is projects that will generate income to repay the loan,’’ he said.
According to Ezenwe, there is danger in borrow without proper utilisation, as “there is also a danger in borrowing for generation unborn to pay the loan. You have to borrow in such a way that your loan will be utilised and in reasonable period of time, it will be pay back.’’
In addition, he advised policy makers to be patriotic and be sincere in implementing the ERGP and also to fight corruption in holistic manner.
ERGP is aimed at bringing the country out of recession and to put it on path of inclusive growth and sustainable development.