By Chinwendu Obienyi
The current lack of rate harmonisation in the foreign exchange market is hurting Nigeria’s ability to attract foreign capital.
According to economic experts who spoke during the Nairametrics Economic Outlook webinar held at the weekend, the unification of the exchange rate will enable more foreign investment in the country.
Speaking during the webinar, the Executive Commissioner (Operations) at the SEC, Dayo Obisan, noted that floating the currency and allowing the forces of demand and supply to set prices will have been the ideal strategy.
He however expressed optimism that the Central Bank of Nigeria was gradually working towards achieving a unified exchange rate policy. “Non-harmonisation of exchange rate is killing foreign portfolio investment (FPI) in the country, proper harmonisation of the exchange rate will create confidence and clarity in the economy. The task before the authorities is the proper implementation of the National Development Plan. We should work very hard towards import substitution. There should be sustainable productivity to give the country a leap in its quest for economic growth,” he said.
Obisan said increased productivity would alleviate poverty in Nigeria, noting that there are lots of policies that usually end up not being implemented.
Also speaking, a Fiscal Policy Partner and Africa Tax Leader at Price water Coopers (PwC), Tayo Oyedele, urged the government to explore an inclusive economic growth rate that will focus on taxes, reduce the economic burden on SMEs, and increase the tax net of non-paying upper middle-class institutions, especially the MDAs.
When quizzed on the impact of tax policy interventions, Oyedele noted that the FG is taxing poverty at current rates and added the government’s policies should focus more on the middle and upper class “If you tax people earning N70,000 or less you are taxing poverty. The top 1% make up more than half of government revenue so government policy should focus on the middle and upper class and not on poor people.”, he said.
Speaking on what will stop oil theft in the Niger Delta region, the Managing Director of Cowry Asset Management Limited, Johnson Chukwu said the government needs to engage the habitat of the oil-bearing assets.
He said, “We tried some strategies in the past which didn’t work. We need to bring development to those areas. We need to create value for them, as it stands today, we are expecting value from them, but they are not getting appreciable value from the government. Without giving them value from the crude that is tapped from their backyard, it will be difficult to bring harmony to the oil-troubled region.