Nigeria must curtail leakages, gas flaring to accelerate economic growth — NESG

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By Ibiyemi Mathew

The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), has said that Nigeria must effectively address all areas of waste, leakage, theft or graft and gas flaring in order to witness accelerated economic growth and human capital development.

Chairman of the NESG, Asue Ighodalo, speaking at the 28th Nigeria Economic Summit in Abuja lamented that only a nation that does not take itself seriously will cry out year after year for power, but continue to fritter away a resource that can deliver that power.

Ighodalo advised that the nation must strengthen its institutions and creatively evolve right attitude to ensure that the institutions work better for the growth of the country.

He said, “We must think through ingenious ways of fixing and strengthening our institutions; paying particular attention to, our civil service and judiciary and changing the attitude and temperament of those of us who work in these institutions.

“Simultaneously and most urgently, we must continue to tackle our National Security issues with vigour, aggression and intelligent resource deployment. A prosperous Nigeria cannot be created without decisively dealing with our security problems.”

According to him, the country must also address its infrastructure deficit, starting first with infrastructure investments that directly power economic activity, like overhauling its deep seaports, which are gateways to trade, or building fully gas-powered special economic zones, whose return on investment is both linear and tangible.

“It is not rocket science, but we must put in place policies and incentives that attract patient capital into our economy, supported by coordinated and consistent macroeconomics policies that grow emerging economies.

“We must also address the problem of unequal access to basic livelihood amenities like food, water, roads that foster micro activity and enable produce to get to markets, schools that deliver solid basic education without security concerns, and basic healthcare.

“Last but certainly not the least, we must start to seriously address, in a deliberate way, how to turn our vast manpower into competitive human capital, by bridging the knowledge deficits and skills gaps that will be required for an accelerated future.”

He added that the country must identify avenues to accelerate growth, over and beyond the ordinary, so it can consistently achieve a 15 percent growth rate over the next 25 years.

“We absolutely must think through and articulate areas where each of our six geopolitical zones can be leading (as) significant global players in the world economy of 2050. Let the competition between our zones be for who will be the first to achieve global top 10, top 3, and even number 1 in these newly identified areas.

“We must channel resources and incentives in a purposeful way to new areas of global economic relevance and consistently benchmark our progress with the world leaders in these areas, determined to surpass them on the global stage. We must take learnings from the admirable global feats being achieved by our tribe of Nigerian creatives,” Ighodalo noted.