The advocacy for Nigeria’s growth narratives to focus on inclusive growth received a boost at the monthly Breakfast Forum of the Nigerian-South African Chamber of Commerce held recently in Lagos under the sponsorship of Coca-Cola Nigeria.
Chairman, Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG) and Managing Partner, Trans Sahara Investment Corporation, Mr Kyari Abba Bukar, who was the Guest Speaker at the occasion in a paper titled “Nigeria’s Economic Outlook and the Imperatives for Inclusive Growth and Development,” called for a three-pronged approach focusing on the productive sector, social inclusion and safety nets.
While acknowledging Nigeria’s strong growth rates in the 2000s, he noted however that this growth was accompanied by rising unemployment and poverty rates, thus, devoid of inclusiveness and widespread development. He said the economic recession in 2016 and the process of recovery in 2017, both of which were triggered by developments in the oil sector, further raises concerns about the pattern and quality of the country’s economic growth and that this anomaly should not continue into 2018 and beyond.
Consequently, Bukar counselled that the “imperatives for sustainable growth and development should be based on the three pillars of inclusive growth, firstly, achieving growth based on and led by the productive sectors; secondly, pursuing social inclusion and thirdly, providing social safety nets for the poor and vulnerable citizens.”
Bukar stressed that Nigeria’s economic landscape needs a total rethink. “Making growth inclusive is not a negotiable option for the government. The concern for the economy should go beyond the narrative of mere growth, emphasis should be on ensuring that more resources are efficiently utilized,” he said.
Among other policy recommendations, Bukar called on the government to ensure macro-economic stability; extend the Ease of Doing Business reforms at State level; implement holistic structural education and health reforms; and review and implement the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP).
Contributing to the discourse, Mr Clem Ugorji, Public Affairs and Communications Director for West Africa said Coca-Cola was proud to sponsor the event as part of the company’s longstanding commitment to promote dialogue and thought leadership on key issues that impact society and development. He said businesses can only thrive where there is an enabling environment, noting that such environment is not defined by infrastructure alone but also by social inclusion and safety nets which are crucial drivers of social stability..
According to Ugorji, ‘’Businesses must begin to take active interest in promoting and participating in multi-stakeholder dialogues that shape policies for inclusive growth and stable environments, taking cognizance of the fact that the best business strategies and ample resources cannot guarantee sustainable business success in an environment of increasing poverty and chaos’’. He said Coca-Cola is ever conscious of this reality and is therefore guided by the principle that a business is only as sustainable as the community in which it operates.