The Nigerian Government, conscious of the over-dependence on Oil which constitutes about 95% of generated revenue, has embarked on many measures to give the Nigerian a new lease on life. To generate stronger and stable growth rate, the Government is promoting the increased production in the non-oil sector of the economy by creating a level-playing field for private-sector led activity. Essentially, the pivots around which the framework for economic growth and development will revolve include the following:
- agriculture and agro-business,
- solid minerals development,
- other manufacturing, including information and communications technology (ICT), and
Other expected areas of concentration that will equally engender accelerated economic growth and poverty reduction are:
- diversification of the productive base of the economy,
- emphasis on agriculture and rural development to consolidate existing initiatives in ensuring food security and export possibilities, particularly in cassava, rice production, textiles, cash crops, livestock, and vegetable oil,
- continued privatization of government owned companies and public utilities
- maximum use of the opportunity available to the textile and garment industry through the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA)
- Promotion of environmental protection and management
- making Nigeria the hub of economic activity in West Africa
- Sensitization of the Nigerian public about the concept of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), which is the political and socio-economic program of the African Union (AU), and which is recognized as the expression of Africa’s collective determination as willingness to develop and integrate into the global economy.
Government will provide Nigerian businesses with an enabling environment that will enhance their ability to take advantage of opportunities arising from NEPAD and the African Union.
As further proof of the Government’s commitment to economic growth, the Nigerian Government has developed a home-grown poverty-reduction strategy known as NEEDS – National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy. The strategy has as its core, some specific structural reforms:
- Anti-Corruption, Transparency and Accountability
- Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). Nigeria has enrolled in this initiative and has already started the process of hiring auditors to examine the Oil Accounts;
- Establishment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which has already succeeded in arresting several perpetrators of the high-level frauds and
- Publication of monthly revenue allocations to all tiers of government,
- Public Sector Reforms
- Public Expenditure and Revenue Reforms dealing with heightening of budget with a view to reducing fiscal deficit
- Accelerated Privatization and Liberalization
- deregulation and Liberalization of the petroleum sector with a complete phase-out of government subsidies,
- deregulation of the telecom sector and increasing available telephone lines
- Accelerated growth and Equitable Development
- Diversification beyond the oil sector in support of other sectors such as SMEs, agriculture, solid minerals, manufacturing, tourism
The members of G-8 continue to be the largest Trading-Partners of Nigeria which exports mainly oil and imports essential commodities.
Conclusively, the main focus of the Nigerian Government for embarking on vigorous economic reforms is to build a more humane, productive, and courteous society where every citizen is valued, and the plight of the disadvantaged is adequately addressed.