By Abiola PETERS.
The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has urged the Federal Government to reappraise it’s Monetary and Fiscal policies among others, in view of the multifaceted challenges confronting the nation.
Speaking in Abuja, the Director-General, Mr. Wale-Smatt Oyerinde stated that “the Monetary and Fiscal authorities have initiated numerous Policies in the last few months, however, these Policies have had little impact either because of inherent inconsistencies in the policies, strategic sabotage by external forces or lack of adequate consultation during the crafting and implementation of the policies.
Rather than holding on to and promoting some of these policies that have proven not to be effective within the context of current economic realities and challenges, the Authorities will do well to reappraise each Monetary and Fiscal policy among others, to gauge their effectiveness and long-term relevance. A deliberate and transparent process of evaluating economic policies should be institutionalized, with the Organized Private Sector (being critical operators in the economy) at the center”.
Emphasising some of the key Conclusions and Recommendations at the recently concluded Employers’ Summit held in Abuja, the NECA boss noted that “Speakers and other economic experts at the maiden Employers’ Summit stated that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had deployed various initiatives to stimulate and drive the economy towards the path of sustained growth. These initiatives and policies included, exclusion and prohibition of about 47 items from eligibility to access FX on 23rd June 2015; Naira4Dollar Scheme aimed at boosting diaspora remittance launched in March 2021; ban of FOREX sale to Bureau De Change (BDC) operators and e-Form ‘A” for Forex Online introduced in July, 2021.
In October 2021, the e-Naira and Pan African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) was launched; RT200 Programme was launched in February 2022 with the aim of extending the Naira4Dollar scheme from the IMTOs to the IEFX window. CBN to pay N65 for every $1 repatriated and sold at the I&E Window; the Rice pyramid Project, among many others.” Unfortunately, many of these interventions have not yielded desirable outcomes in increasing the flow of FX, reflate the economy or promote enterprise competitiveness.”
In view of the observed misalignment between the Fiscal and Monetary Policies of Government, the NECA DG urged that “it is urgent and important for the nation’s Monetary and Fiscal Authorities to close ranks and align these policies for the good of the Nation. While the Monetary policies aim to reflate the economy through the various interventions, the Fiscal Policies tend to create bottleneck for the productive sector by introducing new taxes and levies, such as Telecommunication Excise Tax, Excise Duty on carbonated drinks, Beverage’s tax, NYSC Levy among many others. The introduction of these taxes and levies and other anti-enterprise regulations, to a large extent, will further hamper the consumption pattern of the citizens, reduce capacity utilization of enterprises and worsen the macroeconomic situation of the country due to its multiplier effects”.
Recommending a way out of the current Fiscal and Monetary challenges, Mr. Oyerinde stated that “the Employers’ Summit came up with some key conclusions and recommendations, which could serve as alternative policy action for Government to consider. As a matter of urgency, there should be deliberate alignment between Monetary and Fiscal Policies to reduce the contradictory tendencies. Also, a deliberate and independent mechanism with the active involvement of the Private Sector should be put in place to regularly gauge the effect and impact of policies and regulations.
Ineffective ones should be changed and new ones formulated. While the CBN’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF) is laudable, we urge that the implementation and allocation process should involve the Organized Private Sector of Nigeria (OPSN) in order to enhance its credibility and effectiveness and ensure strict monitoring”, he concluded.