An economist, Prof. Akpan Ekpo, on Thursday said that a review of the nation’s economy in 2018 and the outlook for 2019 showed that the economic growth remained a struggle.
Mr Ekpo, a former Director-General, West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management, WAIFEM, made the assertion at a breakfast meeting of the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce, NACC, in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the NACC February breakfast meeting had the theme: “2018 Economic Review: Expectations for 2019”.
Mr Ekpo said that although the economy exited recession in 2016, it was still in a stagflation state based on very high rates of unemployment, double-digit inflation and sluggish growth.
Investopaedia defines Stagflation as a condition of slow economic growth and relatively high unemployment, or economic stagnation, accompanied by rising prices, or inflation.
It can also be defined as inflation and a decline in gross domestic product, GDP.
“Millions lack the basic necessities of life; only 20 per cent benefit from the country’s resources, poverty incidence is increasing and inequality is widening,” he said.
The economist noted that the quality of the nation’s governance should ensure a continuous improvement in the standard of living of most Nigerians.
He said that proper implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, of the Federal Government would ensure that the economy leaped to a growth trajectory.
According to Mr Ekpo, government should strive to address challenges across sectors that impede economic growth and contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP.
He said that there was an urgent need to diversify the economy, invest in infrastructure development to build a strong economy that could withstand shocks and be globally competitive.
“Five per cent increase in power will grow the GDP tremendously, you cannot grow an economy with diesel-run production sector,” the ex-WAIFEM director-general said.
Mr Ekpo called for strategic planning and proper coordination of the fiscal and monetary policies to enhance economic growth and improve citizens’ welfare.
Earlier, Oluwatoyin Akomolafe, President of NACC, said that World Bank’s data revealed that Nigeria’s GDP growth remained unimpressive and still exhibited the same pattern of the pre-crisis period of 2017.
“As at the third quarter of 2018, the combination of unemployment and underemployment rates have reached an all-time high of 43.3 per cent.
“An estimated 49.1 per cent of the country’s population are still living below the poverty line,” Mr Akomolafe said.
The NACC president added that staying well-informed and understanding the economic prospects for the future was important to all.