India reforms, a lesson for Nigeria – Ndukauba

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With regard to economic reforms, he added: “The greatest challenge facing the Nigerian
economy today is one of poor productivity, primarily driven by structural impediments
including lack of basic infrastructure (energy – power & fuel, transport, etc). The pains
imposed by a big (central) government that acts more as a hindrance than as an enabler to
business and commerce means that urgent reforms are required. Whether the piece meal
approach to trying to fix these (modest steps taken towards improving ease of business)
will have the needed impact remain to be seen (more like just hope).”

Ndukauba urged Nigeria to borrow a leaf from India, in terms of reforms, saying: “India
gave the world an example of what it means to embark on major reforms with the launch of
the harmonised tax system only a few days ago. We are paying a lot of lip service to our
challenges with different interest groups subverting the efforts of government & by so
doing, “cutting their noses to spite their faces.”

On his part, an Economist and Investment Banker, Bayo Rotimi, who is also the Chief
Executive Officer of Quest Advisory Services Limited, said: “I understand the anxiety
around the political situation, movement in oil prices. These are things that we are
aware of. If there are problems in those areas, then the nation’s economy may be
adversely affected.

“On the optimistic side, oil prices in the last six months have remained reasonably
steady. We have not breached the threshold of the budget. The EIU tends to be
pessimistic. I don’t agree with their position on the ERGP. As always, everything is a
function of implementation. Let us judge the government on the ability to implement what
they have outlined to do. We can do this quarterly or otherwise. Though the challenges
are there, Nigeria has passed through this road before.

“The report did not reflect gains made in the first half of the year, especially in the
area of non-oil export and the expected impact of the executive orders in the months to
come. In terms of inflation, I believe Nigeria’s inflation will close lower than the
projected 17 per cent. I reckon between 13 and 15 per cent is where we will close. The
report did not also reflect the changes in the economy, especially in the export window.
This is outside the oil inflows. The various interventions are not captured. Investors’
confidence is rising as reflected in the Eurobonds and other investment measures. Though
the headwinds and challenges are still there, I believe we are in the right direction.
Government needs to consistently implement the policies”.

For the Director-General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Muda
Yusuf, he acknowledged the concerns raised in the report but noted that government
efforts in the areas of policy initiation and implementation has reflected genuine
commitment to growth and development.