Enugu — Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele yesterday advocated sustained effort at boosting the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) against its rising population.
He cautioned that the country may face greater economic and social challenges anytime the population growth exceeded local production, stressing that policy makers should double their efforts in this regard.
He stated that Nigeria must explore its enormous opportunities provided by abundant resources to grow the economy, adding that over reliance on importation had hindered the economic development of the country.
Emefiele said the country was where it is at the moment because its policy makers abandoned its development plans.
He stated this at the special convocation of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), he insisted that a return to agriculture with the various segments concentrating on production of crops where they have comparative advantage would lead to overall development of the country.
Speaking on the theme: From Recession to Growth: The story of Nigeria’s Recovery From the 2016 Economic Recession, Emefiele disclosed that a coordinated approach by fiscal and monetary authorities contributed to the rebound of the nation’s economy in the second quarter of 2017.
The CBN governor, who was also conferred with honorary Doctorate Degree in Business Administration, said the recovery was driven largely by improved non-oil activities, especially the agriculture sector.
He stated that it expanded consistently by about 3.5 – 4.3 percent reflecting government’ s efforts at diversifying the economy.
“This was nonetheless, reinforced by the pickup in the oil sector as oil prices rallied in 2017. The gradual reorientation of the economic structure towards the agriculture sector reflects the diversification drive of the government, which was supported by the development finance initiatives of the CBN.
“The recovery has been sustained for seven consecutive quarters. The pace of quarterly GDP growth has improved from .5 per cent in the second quarter of 2017 to 2.38 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2018,” he added.
Emefiele, however, noted that there were still challenges of ensuring that the pace of GDP growth remains well ahead of our annual population growth at 3 percent, adding that this could only be achieved “if we continue to support efforts aimed at improving domestic production of goods in Nigeria.”
He added that a proactive fiscal action, especially in infrastructure investment was required to enhance economic growth.
The CBN governor further stated that the country’s universities have a considerable role to play in working with the private and public sectors to support research and development (R&D) for solutions to enhance the nation’s economic growth.