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Expert Suggests Outright Sale of Public Assets to Reduce Govt Burden

By Dipo Olowookere

An economic expert has backed the outright privatisation and concessioning of national assets so as to reduce the burden on government and also block leakages.

According to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG), Mr Laoye Jaiyeola, government was getting too overwhelmed managing public assets spread across the country.

This, he was said, was making it impossible for government to adequately monitor how these assets are positively impacting on the lives of citizens.

Speaking at the public presentation of the Spring 2018 Issue of the Sub-Saharan African Regional Economic Outlook (REO) in Lagos on Monday themed ‘Domestic Revenue Mobilisation and Private Investment.’ Mr Jaiyeola also advised government to leverage on technology to block leakages in the system.

He said government still needed to boost the framework around Public Private Partnership (PPP) to scale up the operation of the private sector.

However, he commended the Nigerian authorities for making several efforts to improve the ease of doing business in the country.

On the economy, the NESG chief said there was an increase in the micro-economic stability as the inflation rate continued to decline.

This, according to him, has resulted in a drop in interest rate which in turn would have a positive impact on private sector activities.

Also speaking at the presentation, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Senior Resident Representative in Nigeria, Mr Amine Mati, said the economies of Sub-Saharan countries would grow at an average of 3.4 percent in 2018 from 2.8 percent in 2017.

According to him, two-third of the countries in the region could experience the growth riding on the back of stronger global growth, higher commodity prices and improved capital market access.

But he said on current policies, average growth in the region was expected to decline below 4 percent over the medium term.

Mr Mati noted that, “Across countries, economic outcomes are far from uniform. Oil exporters are still dealing with the legacy of the largest real oil price decline since 1970 with growth well below past trends and rising debts.”

He said there was need for prudent fiscal policy to rein in public debt, while monetary policy must be geared toward ensuring low inflation, advising the countries to also continue to pursue structural reforms to reduce market distortions to increase private investment.

This, he said, would strengthen revenue mobilisation to give governments the means to invest in physical and human capital as well as social infrastructure.

He, however, said domestic revenue mobilisation was one of the most pressing policy challenges facing sub-Saharan African countries.

According to him, nearly all African countries are seeking to raise revenue to make progress toward their sustainable development goals while preserving fiscal sustainability.

“Despite substantial progress in revenue mobilisation, sub-Saharan Africa was still one of the regions with the lowest revenue-to-GDP ratio,” he said.

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Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

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