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Investor confidence has gone from Nigeria — Moghalu tells Tinubu

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By Abiodun OBA

 

The former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Kingsley Moghalu, has lamented that investor confidence has gone from Nigeria.

Moghalu raised the alarm in an interview with Arise Television on Thursday posited that when investor sentiment disappears, it takes a lot of time, lots of hard work to bring it back, and so “I said you might as well get the cash if you are taking all this pain”.

He advised President Tinubu to reshuffle his cabinet as part of measures to restore investor confidence in Nigeria and improve the economy.

Moghalu said, “To restore confidence, President Tinubu needs to reshuffle his cabinet because one of the reasons that investor confidence disappeared was when the process of appointing his cabinet, it was too slow, and then when it made the announcement, it was largely very political type of cabinet, and investors were hoping for something more technocratic to deal with the crisis at hand.”

On Nigeria’s economic stability, he said, “The real solution to our economic crisis is to first and foremost study what brought us here, and if we fix the problems, the habits, the incompetencies, the lack of will that brought us to where we are, then we have fixed the crisis and we have actually prepared the way forward Nigeria’s economy so that we don’t keep lurching from crisis to crisis; which is what we do.

“I recommend the formation of a full time Economic Advisory Council for the president made up of seven economics. I was very specific, and I specified the disciplines in economics that those persons must be specialists in.

“And I talked about fiscal policy, industrial policy, trade policy, business economics, labour economics, agricultural economics, development economics, and political economics. It is the combination of these disciplines that form an economy.

“So, when you are being advised by an economic advisory council, it should have the capacity internally to take a full spectrum approach to the economy. And such a council should address the question of how we structurally diversify our economy away from dependence on oil or agriculture or any one particular thing.”

He further said, “Nigeria can consider floating or issuing a 20 trillion-naira bond to finance some projects in railways, in housing, in agriculture that will be nationwide across 36 states using land as a resource and as the backup for that issue and creating 5 million jobs within three years, that’s one possibility.

“Another possibility which is not homegrown but it’s also valid is that we can consider taking a $30 billion IMF stabilisation programme, and I argued that even though the IMF may be a dirty word in Nigeria, but you are already doing most of the things they want. You are removing subsidies, people are suffering, there is anger, there is hunger in the land, and you are not getting any inflows that are significant because there is no confidence.

“Investor confidence has gone from Nigeria and when investor sentiment disappears, it takes a lot of time, lots of hard work to bring it back, and so I said you might as well get the cash if you are taking all this pain.

“And I discussed the pros and the cons of taking an IMF facility, but for you to take an IMF facility, it must be big fish. If it’s not a big fish, you are wasting your time. If Nigeria takes anything less than $20 billion, ideally $30 billion, it will be like a drop in the bucket.

“What’s the advantage is that you will get forex liquidity, you get support for your reserves, you get improved investor sentiment automatically. If you go to an IMF program, investors will return, because they know that there is a factor that they trust that is now in play.

“And then third there will be a bit more transparency in our fiscal management because of the conditionalities that go with that full stop the cons are of course increasing indebtedness, debt sustainability concerns, challenges to sovereignty, and the fact that it doesn’t solve the long-term problem, it’s just a short-term measure. But you can take it while you are planning for long term strategically and structurally, which is where we fall short.”

The Chairman of the Africa Private Sector Summit said Nigerian leaders should focus on nation building, saying, “Our leaders do not show the example that the citizens can actually believe in, and that is why there is no faith in the government, very little trust in the government. Because it is not do as I say but not as I do, it doesn’t work.

“Nation building begins from the top- the people who lead, who have been entrusted to lead, must be seen to be not ethnic, not religiously narrow, they must be seen to be inclusive, they must be seen to be visionary. And it is that sense of having a vision that they must communicate to the people and show it by example.

“We have to look at our constitution because we don’t have a proper federation in Nigeria. So, when you’re talking about building a sense of nationhood, you must first of all create a sense of fairness, a sense of equality of opportunity, a sense of common destiny and shared purpose.

“The first place to begin is our constitution because this country has several hundreds or thousands of ethnic nationalities. But you need to recognise that reality, and they need to see how they are represented on how their future is assured in the Nigeria project. Then you know you have a genuine Nigeria project.”

 

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