National President of the National Association of Nigerian Traders () Mr. Ken Ukaoha has said that Nigeria’s economy will only have a direction when there is an economic blueprint.
In a signed statement appraising President Muhammadu Buhari’s one year in office, Mr Ukaoha noted that without an economic blueprint in place, it would be difficult to understand the direction of government’s policies.
“The government has come under serious criticism over its inability to come out with a document detailing its economic direction with one time minister of education, Oby Ezekwesili describing it as a ‘command economy’ that will not allow the country make progress”.
“Even foreign investors are reluctant to come into the country due to what many of them say is the unclear direction of government’s economic policy”, he said.
While commending the government for some economic decision so far taken, Ukaoha said that NANTS is dismayed that one year of the four-year tenure of the present administration is gone without an economic blueprint.
“We dare say that no credible government the world over runs a governance structure without a navigator and that navigator in this case is its economic blueprint. This blueprint should be laced with performance indicators and benchmarks, and it is based on these that the government will be eventually evaluated”, he said.
“The past Administration’s Transformation Agenda ended in 2015, therefore we had expected that the present government would promptly evolve its economic blueprint as a working tool and a compass to navigate its actions and strategic approach especially given the critical times the nation has found herself.
The traders body noted that without a trade policy, efforts at harnessing the country’s trade potential will not yield its desired result as there is no trade policy that governs the entire gamut of trade and transactions in the country.
With the need to diversify the country’s revenue base due to a drastic fall in the price of crude oil, Ukaoha insisted that a national trade policy would spell out Nigeria’s strategy for implementing trade related matters not just across the country but also at the sub-regional level.
On the proposed Economic Stimulant for traders, market women and Small and Medium Enterprises by the government in the 2016 budget, NANTS urge the government to make available the modalities for its disbursement if this laudable initiative does not “go the way of other economic stimulants and facility packages designed by past administrations which either went to the banks or ended in the pockets of unscrupulous politicians.”
On the flexible Exchange rate regime by the Central Bank of Regime, the body believes it is a move in the right direction if thoroughly implemented as its members have been forced to bear the brunt of the fixed exchange rate regime that is in operation at the moment.
“We believe that foreign investors who have left the country citing the fixed foreign exchange regime will be forced to come back especially given the huge return on investment which can only be located in Nigeria,” he said.