NIGERIA TO DIVERSIFY ECONOMY IN ORDER TO LEAD CONTINENTAL AFRICA
The Nigerian Government plans to diversify the economy towards positioning the country as Africa’s economic hub. The Science and Technology Minister Ogbonnaya Onu made the disclosure while hosting United Nations Industrial Development Organizations’ M.D Philippe Sholtes in Abuja over the weekend.
According to the Minister, the Federal Government of Nigeria is optimistic that the science and technology sector will salvage the country’s economic woes while positioning it to lead th continent.
United Nations Industrial Development Organizations’ Philippe Sholtes earlier informd Onu that UNIDO has earmarked $2.6 billion towards the development of small hydro power plants in strategic locations in the country so as to help accelerate the industrial revolution the country craves.
Onu thanked UNIDO’s M.D (Sholtes) for his organization’s efforts in partnering towards economic growth across Africa and specifically Nigeria.
TWO MILLION JOB CREATION THROUGH ICT
Nigeria’s Communications Minister Adebayo Shittu over the weekend revealed the Federal Government’s plans to create nearly two million ICT-related jobs in the country as part of a big plan towards ending the unemployment crisis.
The Guardian reports that this disclosure was made at the maiden Nigeria Communicatiosn rtreat held at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Ibadan.
Already as part of the big plan, the government is in talks with some unnamed Chinese investors who are willing to pump nearly $ 15 billion of investment money into the ICT sector which reportedly employs more people in Nigeria than the overrated oil and gas sector.
The planned investment in ICT is part of the Government’s effort to reduce both the public and private infrastructure deficit in the country’s communications sector for substantial improvement in the quality of service delivery. And to do that, the minister also revealed that the Federal Government will purchase a backup satellite for NICOMSAT.
TROUBLED ECONOMY: FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PROPOSES VAT INCREMENT
Amid growing concerns over the implications of continuous decline in crude oil prices, the Fedral Government plans to increase Value Added Tax for all Nigerians as was suggested to it by the IMF boss who visited the country earlier this month.
The Nigerian economy which is highly dependent on oil export for its maintenance is in a chaotic state as a result of declining oil prices, the worst since a decade ago selling as low as $28 per barrels and prompting the government to [last year] impose restrictions on FOREX so as to conserve foreign exchange reserve.
The situation is so bad so much so the government has considered borrowing from various sources in order to restart the economy. Therefore, increase in VAT will serve as one of the measures aimed at cushioning said economy in its most precarious state yet.
Meanwhile, despite the government’s belief that this move will help solve the problem to a considerable extent, some citizens have criticized the move as ill-timed as any increase in VAT will put more burden on the average Nigerian who is already feeling the hardship brought about by the situation at hand. Speaking with the Punch Newspaper, a university professor Leo Ukpong opined that while the proposed VAT increment is not exactly a bad idea, other factors should be considered such as the high rate of unemployment coupled with the bad economy itself. For him, increasing the value added tax on products and services will wreck more havoc on the already volatile economy.