Ambode, others canvass diversified economy
• Urge govt to exploit under-utilised ‘goldmines’
FOR the umpteenth time, stakeholders and financial sector operators have urged the Federal Government to lead campaign for the diversification of the economy with seriousness, particularly in the under-utilised mineral sector.
The Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, who spoke at the induction of new professional members of the Association of Investment Advisers and Portfolio Managers (AIAPM) yesterday, said the challenge of revamping the economy is not impossible with focused and collaborative efforts.
Represented by the duo of Mrs. Folashade Ogunnaike, Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Office and Mrs. Oluwatoyin Adebuji-Onikoyi, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, he however expressed optimism that the current reforms would aid the efforts.
Besides, Group Managing Director of Lead Capital Plc., Mr. Bimbo Olashore, urged government to move the country forward by tapping into the under-utilised goldmines to increase revenues.
He said the Nigerian economy is well diversified in terms of contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDA), but lacked in-depth, as the source of government revenue remained undiversified.
Presenting his paper titled: “Revenue Diversification- The Bedrock of Sustainable Economic Development”, at the occasion, he advised that to reap the fruit of diversification, government must get some economic-wide basics right, which he also said, are not far-fetched.
“Nigeria has some non-revenue areas which include Value Added Tax (VAT), Customs and Excise, Company Income Tax, among others. I believe we can look into the VAT rate which is currently too low, tourism development, which is lacking, but has huge potentials, property rights and piracy which is currently growing rapidly and company income,” he said.
According to him, Malaysia diversified into energy, communication, transport, and free trade; Indonesia diversified into export orientation, strategies and taxation, despite the booming oil sector; Chile emphasised on counter-fiscal high policy, fiscal discipline and savings; Dubai diversified income stream to attract Foreign Direct Investment expatriate law, infrastructure, real property, range of services, and establishing free zone to further build export capacity; and lastly, South Africa diversified into manufacturing and tourism with a national industrial policy frame-work.
Also, the Managing Director, Afrinvest Limited, Ike Chioke, however said that designing an integrated planning mechanism will help move this country forward.
I think lack of political will to push it to fruition is a problem. We need infrastructure. We have much in this country that are under-utilised. Over the last decade, we recorded about five per cent increase in GDP each year. I think what we need is to come up with an integrated planning mechanism to put together the ideas and political will towards achieving much and moving the country forward,” he said.
In the same vein, the Chief Executive Officer, Stanbic IBTC, Akeem Oyewale, said Nigeria can key into the entertainment and financial sectors, especially the insurance companies, to make people have confidence in them, thus generating revenue for the country.
He urged government to intensify the building of good legacies by appointing ministers who are professionals and have the ability to build on existing legacies.
The Chief Executive Officer, United Capital Asset Management, Mrs. Modupe Mujota, on his own, reiterated that Nigeria has to invest in infrastructure, security and get regulations to put down policies, as well as start doing something pragmatic, rather than keep talking about diversification without concrete direction.
“To ensure this sector (entertainment) is well structured, government should come down forcefully against pirates, by providing a legal frame-work backing this up, and the Judiciary should support the industry,” she added.