Nigeria’s economy to rebound in 18 months: Zinox Chairman Leo Stan Ekeh

Posted by News Express | 11 January 2016 | 3,679 times

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The Chairman of Zinox Group, Leo Stan Ekeh, has predicted that Nigeria’s current economic downturn will ease off by 2017, according to an interview published by The PUNCH.

“I am confident that in 18 months, the current challenges will be solved and the economy will rebound,” Ekeh said in the interview published today.

The Zinox Chairman was asked: “The prevailing downturn in the economy occasioned by the falling price of crude oil, among others, is hurting a lot of businesses in the country at the moment, with massive job losses being reported. Do you see light at the end of the tunnel?”

His reply: “Well, I have always been an optimist. I believe the Nigerian economy can never shut down totally, by God’s grace. However, the shocks and gaps in the economy now represent our current realities and we must find creative ways to navigate this harsh economic climate. The unprecedented fall in the price of crude oil is a global phenomenon, which even the smartest economist could not have predicted. The only regret is the fact that successive governments failed to save for the present rainy day we are experiencing when prices were at their peak.

“Having said that, we must always look forward. I sincerely believe that the current administration has the requisite political will and capacity to see the country through this storm and the new mindset of Nigerians to get things done properly helps. I also believe that the organised private sector holds the key to a way out of the present quagmire. As a matter of urgency, President Muhammadu Buhari should engage the private sector to save Nigeria. The three levels of the sector drive over 80 per cent of Nigeria’s economy and certainly, we can only move forward when the government carries them along. Recall that in the run-up to last year’s elections, President Buhari met with representatives of the private sector in Lagos to present his party’s economic plans. This and other engagements certainly went a long way in contributing to his victory at the polls.

“It is my considered opinion that the time is right for the President to enlist the support of the sector in finding a way out of the current economic challenges by restating the vision and focus of the government as well as its sincerity to turn around the economy, as eloquently outlined during the electioneering period. In so doing, the President can secure the support of the sector for the vision and plans of his government. For instance, by reaching out to large corporates, influential businesspersons and individuals, and even some of our big churches with huge reserves abroad, the government can find a way out of the foreign exchange challenges. These establishments and individuals can lend the government through promissory notes at an interest rate of, say 1.5 per cent per year which will be the highest anywhere in the world and repay gradually over a period of one year. The government can raise money through this means, which will provide the needed foreign exchange to enable it to meet the numerous commitments and help it navigate and offset the low price of crude oil in the global market.

“Government, on its own part, can reward the private sector by giving them a chance to have a say in government. By looking into some of the challenges being faced by the sector in terms of confiscation of goods by some agencies, multiple taxation from the tiers of government, unconducive business environment, especially as they are the custodian of power and they should be accountable to the people who elect them to office.

“I am confident that in 18 months, the current challenges will be solved and the economy will rebound.”

•Photo shows Zinox Chairman Leo Stan Ekeh.

Source: News Express

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