By Lydia Ngwakwe
An economist, Prof. Akpan Ekpo has urged President Bola Tinubu to tackle Nigeria’s insecurity head-on, if he really wanted to attract investors and grow the economy.
Ekpo, a Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos.
He spoke on how the Federal Government could promote economic growth and prosperity in the country.
According to him, insecurity is one among the many challenges that Nigeria’s economy is facing at the moment.
Ekpo said: “If we don’t have peace and security, all other economic aspects will not bring out positive results; for example, the Minister of Finance says that the government wants to bring in Foreign Direct Investment; it cannot come in with insecurity in the country.
“Going forward, let him tackle the security issue and maybe other things will follow.’’
Furthermore, the expert said the removal of oil subsidy had created a problem for the economy, noting that the structure of Nigeria’s economy depended solely on oil.
He urged Tinubu to find a way to remedy the situation, adding that structural inflation had caused all prices to go up by more than 400 per cent.
Ekpo also said the collapse of the rate at the investors and exporters window and that of the street rate posed a challenge to the economy as well.
“The timing of collapsing the investors and exporters window exchange rate plus the street rate was a big error in the sense that you don’t do such a thing in a short term because our naira is not convertible.
“So if you open it up as it’s been done and try to merge two markets, you can never succeed because our economy is a consumption economy. We don’t export.
“That mistake has made the naira depreciate; so we need more naira to buy dollars and you can see the difference is still there between the investors and exporters window and the black market.
“And then once you are building a capitalist economy, you have to be very careful; you cannot completely erase speculators and people who will do arbitrage because the dollar and euro are not your money. So because of that, you have to have a managed float.
“The emphasis here is on the area of managing it; so opening up the foreign exchange market is a challenge also for the economy.’’
This, the expert said, would cause inflation to keep rising through foreign exchange pass through.(NAN)