By Abdul Rahman Bangura –
NEW AFRICA DAILY NEWS ( NADN ) Freetown, Sierra Leonne- NIGERIA, African Development Bank (AfDB) has bidden Nigeria a thorough procedure to handle monetary challenges emanating from the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Ebrima Faal, Senior Country Director of the bank, helped what Nigeria should do for an emotional financial rescue, Faal said the measures would comprise short-term and long-term responses to address difficulties that the country would be facing as a result of COVID-19.
He said it had been observed in many countries where this kind of crisis occurred required quick and decisive actions as well as policy coordination to reverse the potential challenges to the economy.
He noted that around the world, countries at more advanced stages of the outbreak were announcing liquidity relief, debt restructuring, forbearance on loan repayments and initiatives in the order of 10 to 15 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The director added that in the short term, a similar stimulus would be needed in Nigeria. “We have seen the CBN introduce policies to mobilize private sector resources and lend support to the government in its efforts to contain the virus.
“It is also supporting private and public healthcare institutions in the country while providing liquidity for the private sector and SMEs to continue to operate.
“We have also seen some responses from the Government including a reprioritization of expenditure to help address the pandemic. “In the long term measure, the country needs to diversify the economy and increase social infrastructure.
“In the longer term, the government’s strategic thrust through the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) seeks to push the transformation agenda for Nigeria.
“The ERGP builds on previous initiatives and other industry specific strategies and programmes, including the National Industrial Revolution Policy (NIRP) and National Enterprises Development Policy (NEDP), among others.
“Nigeria already has the necessary strategies in place to drive the transformation and diversification agenda. The key challenge is that the implementation of these policies has often been less optimal and so the impact is limited and varied.
“The COVID-19 outbreak once again reminds us of the need to create a resilient economy, one that is less dependent on oil for revenues and exports. Nigeria faces three-four key challenges that need to be urgently addressed in the post-COVID-19 era,” he stated.
Speaking further, Faal said mobilizing more domestic resources was paramount, adding that non-oil revenues accounted for about four percent of GDP and this means that nearly 90 percent of the economy was virtually untaxed.
According to him, growing non-oil revenues will insulate the economy from the cyclicality of oil revenues and create stability in the government budget.
He stated that there were a number of ways in which the government could generate more revenues from the non-oil sector.
He said the increase in the Value Added Tax (VAT) to 7.5 percent was a good move, stating that without strong enforcement and compliance with existing measures, the revenue yield from the VAT would be minimal.
“We also see opportunities in mobilizing resources from the private sector, especially for infrastructure development.
“The assets under management about N10 trillion by pension funds and other institutional investors could be mobilized to create a pool of investment resources to transform the country.
“This means improving efficiency and ability of the financial sector, including the capital market, to attract such funds, and channel them to productive uses,” he told.
For New Africa Daily News Abdul Rahman Bangura Reports, Africa Correspondent