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NESG warns Buhari of dire consequences if current economic slide is not addressed

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Private sector-led tink tank, the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) on Monday challenged the Buhari administration to take some bold and proactive decisions that would halt the current descent to national economic insolvency.

In a communique released on Sunday after the conclusion of the meeting of its board of directors, the body listed insecurity challenge in the country, crude oil theft, multiple exchange rate system as well as removing petrol subsidy in a manner that would not hurt the vulnerable segment of Nigerians adversely as critical areas that should be addressed by the administration.

“The proposed Medium Term Expenditure Framework of the federal government clearly indicates that the rising fuel subsidy costs continue to exceed unsustainable levels.

“According to reports from the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, it is clear that the current fuel subsidy regime’s debilitating impact on our fiscal fragility cannot be overstated.

“We urge the federal government to explore a systematic subsidy removal programme that cushions the impact on our most vulnerable population through a well-coordinated and effectively transmitted social protection regime.” the group said.

NESG further suggested that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) eliminate the multiple exchange rates in Nigeria, as its affecting foreign direct Investment into the country.

“International investors, being savvy and rational, will not invest where there is a real risk to their ability to access and repatriate investment proceeds or when the functional currency is in sporadic depreciation.

“Multiple foreign exchange (FX) markets with significant price differentials create room for speculation, round-tripping, cronyism and outright graft – with an attendant adverse effect on the economy.” the report by the think-tank discloses.

The NESG communiqué, which was signed by its Chairman, Mr. Asue Ighodalo, stated categorically that there was no doubt that Nigeria was at an inflection point, but added that the actions and inaction of the country’s political leadership would have significant implications for the direction of inflection.

Ighodalo stated: “It is still possible to turn the tide, and it is not too late to bring the nation out of the current quagmire.  Our appeal to Mr. President is that a lot can still be done to turn the curve within the remaining 10 months of this administration. This requires tough choices and decisive actions, with no sacred cows.

“As one to whom providence has bestowed the honour of leading this nation time and again, your administration can begin to lay the groundwork for a legacy that a new government can build upon from Monday, 29 May 2023.”

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