By Charles Nwaoguji
The news that the Nigerian economy has entered into recession requires urgent action to halt the trend and the adoption of measures for recovery, National President of Nigerian Chamber of Commerce, industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Hajiya Saratu Iya Aliyu has said.
Aliyu said the contraction of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the 2nd and 3rd quarters of 2020, especially the negative rates of growth are not surprising.
The contraction of GDP, she noted in two consecutive Quarters (minus) -6.1% in Q2, 2020 (dropping by 7.9 percentage-points from 1.8% in the 1st Quarter of year 2020) and (minus) -3.62% in Q3, 2020, reflects the effects of the near total closure of the Nigerian economy for the months of April to June 2020.
She point out that the COVID-19 pandemic during this period, led to workforce depletion, either through corona-virus infections or the mitigation policies of social distancing and isolation to stop the exponential spread.
“The pandemic also affected the global price of crude oil and consequently a negative impact on government revenue and foreign exchange reserves,” she said.
“At that time, in our reactions to the trend of the economy we projected that by the end of the year, Nigeria could “officially” be in the state of economic recession and any speedy recovery (as always) would depend on government policies.
” We consequently counseled that government at all levels resist the urge to tax or place an economic burden on the citizenry, as this will stifle economic activity and persist the cycle of recession.We further counselled that government at all levels adopt policies that mitigate workforce depletion (i.e. encourage production processes that reduce corona-virus infections, emphasize early detection with adequate facilities for isolation and treatment) and stimulate economic activity by creating a regulatory environment that ensures that citizens take on productive activities,” she explained.
“We are still of the view that this approach, combined with a shift in focus from lump-sum taxation to consumption and/or sales taxes will create the appropriate environment for a quick recovery from economic recession,” she added.
Now that we have officially entered into recession she said that there is need for urgent recovery measures.
In this light, she noted that recovery measures must focus on how to support the MSMEs in particular, and ensure the effective and urgent implementation of the Economic Sustainability Plan through release of funds under the Plan which touches all areas of the economy.