By Bisi Bamishe
Nigerians have been told when the ailing naira may bounce back to reduce hyper inflation and pains on the citizenry.
The indication was revealed at the 7th annual conference of the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP) by a professor of capital market, Uche Uwaleke.
The expert from the Nasarawa State University, Lafia, who is also the Special Adviser to the Senate Committee Chairman on Capital Market, told online publishers that the moment Nigeria can stop fuel import, about 54 per cent of the cost of fuel ought to drop.
This, he said, is because fuel importation accounts for 54 per cent of the fuel price, saying local refining alone ought to shed off this size of cost.
He said this should automatically reduce the bleeding of the naira and reduce inflation because fuel pushes prices of all other things up.
His advice thus is that the FG should intensify all strategies to get the refineries working, then naira will firm up.
On the refineries, the expert urged the FG to sell or privatise government assets only at the Capital Market to ensure transparency, due process, corporate governance, and spread of equity to interested Nigerians.
“The NNPCL should be taken to the Capital Market, even if it’s a small percentage that is to be sold. This is because they will be under obligation to publish their records. Nigerians will take up equity in it. Saudi Arabia did so with Aramco where 5% was sold. Do part privatization of the refineries at the Capital Market,” he said.
He also said states and regions should cooperate and build joint ventures in businesses peculiar to their areas and on which they hold comparative advantage.
Uwaleke harped on the highly cherished One-State-One-Product (OSOP) concept and build industries in the products they have adopted. “It is a pity that what they put in the OSOP project is N1m per year. Why not pump huge sums especially from the surplus to it and boost industrial ventures in states.”
The professor pointed to what he called ‘Productive-Base Expansion/Diversification’, saying changing the structure of the economy from mono product to a multi-product one having capacity for multiple sources of forex is the way out.
In addition, he said it will be a boost to primary products to intermediate & finished products; and shift from import-dependency to export-led economy.
“Promoting industrial parks and Privatization of state-owned businesses such as NNPCL through the capital market for inclusive economic growth.”
In her welcome remarks, the president of GOCOP, Maureen Chigbo, said security was important as there can be no investment without security. She explained the reason for the conference; “There is a new administration in town, so there is the need to assist them with professional information to build sound roadmap.”
Giving a background on GOCOP, and the choice of Abuja, the president, who is the publisher of RealNews online media outfit, noted the group is made up of mediapreneurs who she described as seasoned practitioners that have gone through it all.
She assured that GOCOP has created mechanisms to control and discipline any erring members to ensure credibility in online journalism.
The chairman of the conference, Prof Ishaq Oloyede, Registrar, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), agreed with GOCOP leadership, saying “lt is the right time to set agenda for the new governments at the national and sub-national levels, thus the choice of your theme for this conference “Nigeria: Roadmap for Socio-economic Recovery and Sustainability” is apt and relevant”.
Oloyede who noted that the Nigerian state is undergoing tremendous pressure under an excruciating socio-economic environment added, “The country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) though positive, has been growing at a declining rate over time. GDP growth was 5.01 per cent during Q2, 2021 compared with a growth of 2.51 per cent during Q2, 2023. Similarly, inflation rate worsened, as it increased from 19.64 per cent in July 2022 to 24 per cent by July 2023. “Much more worrisome is the value of the Naira. It has now depreciated to above N700/$1.00 in the official market and above N1,000/$1.00 at the parallel market. These economic phenomenal have further put pressure on the well-being of Nigerians.”