Nigeria’s economy facing daunting challenges, says US …As country’s inflation declines to 11.25% in March
BY FRANCIS EZEM
The United States Consulate General, John Bray, has raised fresh concerns over Nigeria’s current economic challenges and future outlook, describing them as daunting considering the country’s explosive population projected to grow to 450 million by 2050 from the present 200 million.
Meanwhile, the inflation rate for the month of March 2019 released by the National Bureau of Statistics NBS, Tuesday shows that the figure declined to 11.25 percent.
The US envoy, who delivered a keynote speech at the Securex West Africa conference in Lagos on Tuesday, attributed Nigeria’s security problems and overall stability to her economic challenges.
Speaking on the theme: ‘A multi-stakeholder approach to addressing Nigeria’s security challenges’, Bray highlighted some of the factors contributing to economic and political instability as health crises, illegal trade in toxic chemicals, dumping of hazardous wastes and corruption among several other factors.
Citing figures from the NBS, He argued the number of unemployed youths in the country put at 13.2 million as of 2018 was alarming, adding that the rise of militancy in the North East, South East, and South- South correlated directly to the number of idle youths in the country.
“The challenges Nigeria will face in the future brought on by dramatic population increase could be even direr. Nigeria is on track to reach nearly 450 million by 2050, a number that would make it the third most populous nation in the world. The convergence of these factors and a poor economic outlook will have a significant impact on security and stability in Nigeria,” the envoy said.
He noted that the country was in urgent need of economic diversification which could be achieved through investment in agriculture and the entertainment industry.
However, he said, the heightened farmer-herdsman conflicts had taken their toll on agricultural growth, stressing that the diminishing food security only increased instability in the Middle Belt.
According to him, the US is seeking to do its part to help support the development of human capital in Nigeria, saying that the Nigerian government should to do its part by addressing corruption and striking trade deals that would benefit its citizens.
He said, “Nigeria must address her endemic corruption. The ability to “sign deals” that only benefit political leaders impacts Nigeria’s ability to develop its economy and encourage investment. The United States does its best to limit corruption continent-wide. We do so through visa regulations, business sanctions, and through training and advocacy work.”
In his welcome address, the Regional Director, Afrocet Montgomery, George Pearson, called on all stakeholders to collaborate to build a safety and secure ecosystem that support the continent’s aspirations for sustainable peace and prosperity.
He described Securex West Africa as a platform for suppliers and service providers in the security sector to display their cutting-edge product and service offerings, and showcase the latest technology in safety and security management.
Meanwhile, the NBS in its latest report says, the country’s Consumer Price Index, (CPI) which measured inflation increased by 11.25 percent (year-on-year) in March 2019.
“This is 0.06 per cent points lower than the rate recorded in February 2019 (11.31) per cent, even as increases were recorded in all COICOP divisions that yielded the headline index.
“On month-on-month basis, the Headline index increased by 0.79 percent in March 2019, this is 0.06 percent rate higher than the rate recorded in February 2019 (0.73) percent,” the report said.
The NBS added that the percentage change in the average composite CPI for the twelve months period ending March 2019 over the average of the CPI for the previous twelve months period was 11.40 percent, showing 0.16 per cent point from 11.56 per cent recorded in February 2019.