A former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Tunde Lemo, has said the country should expect a further shrinkage in economic activities this year.
He said the impact of this projected shrinkage would be especially felt across the major sectors of the economy.
He, therefore, advised the Federal Government to intensify efforts towards diversifying the economy.
A statement made available to our correspondent on Thursday quoted Lemo as saying this at the 61st Annual National Convention of the Foursquare Gospel Church.
The event, which held at the Foursquare National Headquarters in Lagos, had as its theme, ‘The Nigerian Economy: The past, present and the future’.
Lemo, according to the statement, said it was regrettable that despite the progress made by the country on the political front, available indices “have unveiled the painful lop-sidedness of Nigeria’s economic prosperity.”
He was quoted as saying, “Nigeria economic activities are expected to shrink by 1.8 per cent in 2016 in a bid to adjust to foreign currency shortages as a result of lower oil receipts, low power generation and weak investors’ confidence. These will affect the major sectors of the economy.
“We need to key into ways to reform the economy and drive toward diversification.”
The ex-CBN deputy governor noted that the country’s Gross Domestic Product had contracted by -0.36 per cent in the first quarter of this year, which he said was “a likely indication that the economy would record another negative growth in the second quarter.”
“The country has been badly hit by unemployment rate at 12.1 per cent with exports dropping by 34.6 per cent, while imports declined by 7.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2016,” Lemo observed.
He said Nigerians needed to demand from the President Muhammadu Buhari administration an urgent diversification of the economy.
Lemo explained, “The present administration advocated for anti-corruption and economic reform during the past election, but it has not succeeded in proving to Nigerians and the world its capacity to bring about economic reformation. Its major headache lies in how to rejig the Nigerian economy and set it back on a growth trajectory.
“We have to insist on economic reform and diversification to revamp the economy, because it can help to deliver inclusive growth in the system,” Lemo called.
He declared that Nigeria had slid into an economic recession, pointing out that a country would be in a recession when it records two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth as measured by its GDP.
“The country is economic is in recession. What we need now is massive fiscal policy to help revive the economy. Government has to pump more money into the economy and not just on capital projects,” Lemo said.
Also speaking at the event, the General Overseer, Foursquare Gospel Church in Nigeria, Rev. Felix Meduoye, said the theme was relevant to the realities of the situation in the country, noting that the public lecture was a build-up to the church’s 61st convention, which will hold between November 14 and 20 this year at its campground near Ajebo in Ogun State.
The event was chaired by a former Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Great Britain, Dr. Christopher Kolade.