Former member of National Economic Management (EMT) and immediate-past Chairman of Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc, Mr. Atedo Peterside, has picked holes in the recently released Nigerian Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (NERGP), describing it as timid, not bold and audacious.
Peterside, who was keynote speaker at the 2017 1st Quarterly dinner organised by the Abuja Branch of Kings College Old Boys’ Association (KCOBA), said the plan, rather than solve Nigeria’s economic problems, would end up creating more.
Delivering a paper titled, “Evolving Economy, Good Governance and Repositioning
Nigeria,” Peterside said, NERPG that came though belatedly, was not a bold, holistic and audacious Plan.
He said “it is akin to a timid plan that may just leave us with negative GDP per capita growth through out the planned period unless something gives. Perhaps the plan was timid because the politics was not right, I dare say the political will was not there to pursue some of the major and necessary reforms.”
“Politics often gets in the ways of economics and vice verse and so none is new,” he stated, adding that the multiple exchange rate policy adopted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was a potential disincentive to the much-desired investment in the country.
His words: “It is mind-boggling and very difficult to understand, why in 2017, Nigeria would be embracing multiple exchange rates, which have been globally rejected as a bad idea that was only embraced by intellectually and/or morally bankrupt persons.
“There is no known economic theory on earth that favours multiple exchange rates as a viable medium and/ or long term economic policy prescription. The instrument that is globally accepted for discriminating between types of users is trade policy, which can administer tariffs, levies and special taxes.”
While defending the former CBN governor, now Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, who had been under attack for his criticism of the CBN Governors’ alleged financial recklessness, Peterside regretted that rather than take in the message, people were executing the messenger.
He also remarked that current anti-corruption fight by the government was skewed against those who are perceived to be in the opposition, noting that once the system changed, Nigerians would not have confidence in the anti graft war.
“The fight against corruption is supposed to be one of the strengths of President Muhammadu Buhari administration, but sadly enough, every minor gain recorded here is marred by the over zealous security chiefs’ penchant to launch personal vendetta against opposition.”
He pointed out that CBN’s multi exchange rate policy was akin to legalizing corruption since nobody outside of the system could control those involved, adding; “By this policy, the Federal Government is chasing the symptoms of corruption, and arresting a few beneficiaries of corruption, whilst opening up new and more lucrative avenues for corruption by increasing rewards for rent-seeking behaviour everyday via the adoption of policy choices.”