PH business leaders see great opportunity in Nigeria’s crashing economy

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– Table advice to FG to diversity, boost local manufacturing, remove subsidy, deregulate totally, and boost SMEs, etc

Top business leaders in Port Harcourt have refused to see panic and danger in the crash of Nigeria’s oil economy caused by coronavirus and Russia oil price war with Saudi Arabia.

The president of the Rivers Entrepreneurs and Investors Forum (REIF), Ibifiri Bobmanuel, a tractor assembly plant CEO, called this a golden moment to do what is necessary. The engineer and globetrotter called for complete deregulation of the downstream sector and closing the foreign exchange differentials on different windows.

He said: “This is a golden opportunity to completely deregulate and develop the local economy. This oil price crash is another opportunity and the FG must immediately remove subsidy.”

Bobmanuel wants the forces of demand and supply to be allowed to decide the market just as he has urged the FG to close the rate differences in the various foreign exchange windows.

He said: “Let the private sector take over fully and run the economy. Borrowing to support infrastructure is no more viable. Instead, create conditions for private investors to come in and invest in them. Open up the space instead of borrowing to invest in infrastructure. Yes, scale back on the 2020 budget but allow the private sector to take over provision of infrastructure”.

On her own, the immediate past national vice chairperson and council member of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Ekama Emilia Akpan, urged the FG to look inwards right now.

She joined in seeing this as an opportunity to readdress the nation’s situation. She urged the government to sit down with MAN on how to manufacturer almost all national needs locally.

She went on: Give easy loans to SMEs to support a new economy through a Do-It-Yourself scheme. She warned that importation is no more an attraction and that even of something is ordered from abroad right now, shipping may be an issue because importation has been endangered.

“This is a blessing in disguise, so manufacture things locally now especially foods and medicals. Let government agencies slow down on harassing businesses. Most schools abroad have closed down. The FG should find ways to keep children busy and alert in the brain.

“Let there be coaching on emergency approaches and use of things such as lime. Bring back retired health officials to help in a national emergency scheme ahead of serious epidemic in our land based on what we see happening around the world. Women and children should be given special attention in the coming days

“Finally, Israel prayed against Coronavirus and God seems to have answered them. Senegal has made progress.”

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