Ifeanyi Onuba, Abuja
Economists on Wednesday called on the Federal Government to stimulate the level of exports of goods and services in order to take the country out of recession.
The economists said at a monthly round-table in Abuja on the Nigerian economy that while the country had enough resources to support the diversification strategy of the government, the focus had been on local consumption rather than exports.
Speaking on the theme, ‘Agriculture: The quickest route to export expansion and diversification’, the President, Times Economics Limited, Mr. Ogho Okiti, said that despite the government’s investments in agriculture, the huge revenue potential of the sector had yet to be harnessed.
For instance, he said that the type of agriculture produce that made up the country’s exports were still few as against the huge number for which the country had comparative advantage.
He listed some of the products that Nigeria currently exports as live animals, raw hides, vegetables, plastic and rubber, paper-making materials and textiles, among others.
Okiti said, “The way agriculture has been funded so far is that there is no focus on export and even the mindset of the government is not on export. Go and look at history, the reason why it is important to focus on the outside market is that just within two years, an economy that was doing seven per cent growth for over decades has collapsed completely.
“The most binding constraint to Nigeria’s economy is the dollar. So, the whole strategy for the country should not be to increase production for local consumption, but rather for export.”
He added, “I believe that the government’s policy strategy right now should focus on what we can export, how can we export it, who is buying it, how quickly can we get it into the market.”