The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) has urged the Federal Government to re-open the nation’s borders, saying the closure is having a negative impact on trade and employment.
According to the group, Nigeria’s presence in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) should not be limited to security and diplomacy, it must also effectively harness trade opportunities within the sub-region.
In a statement, the Chairman, Board of Directors and the Chief Executive Officer, NESG, Asue Ighodalo, and Laoye Jaiyeola also advised the government to ratify the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) for Nigeria to move to full membership status and take its rightful place in subsequent negotiation rounds.
NESG said that with the necessary infrastructure, the Nigerian economy and people, coupled with innovative capacity, hard work, and creativity, would be among the greatest beneficiaries of free trade in West Africa and the entire continent.
“Ratifying the AfCFTA would also enable fair competition, competent institutions, efficiency, and transparency in processes.”
The NESG called for an overhaul of the management of the agricultural sector and all related areas of the economy with a view to getting more value for investments.
Ighodalo and Jaiyeola argued that this became pertinent because, despite the budgetary allocations and huge sums of money disbursed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, a huge gap remained in meeting the food requirements, a situation that has resulted in increasing hunger among Nigerians. According to the group, it is evident that the issues are beyond money, therefore, the need to overhaul the sector.
The NESG, which lamented the high level of insecurity in the country and its impact on the business environment and investment inflows, said “all these have contributed massively to the current food crisis, unemployment, poverty, rising bloodshed, and tranquility, among other vices.