By Lydia Ngwakwe
Lagos, Jan. 1, 2021 An Economist, Dr Boniface Chizea, says the implementation of the 2021 Budget at the beginning of the year will positively impact the prospects of the economy in the year under review.
Chizea, who is the Chief Executive Oficer of BIC Consultancy Services, spoke to newsmen in Lagos on Friday.
“It is a good development that the budget has been approved ready for implementation from the first day of the year.
“This is a welcome and cheering news as this development is bound to positively impact the prospects of the economy in the year under review”, he said.
He recalled that Year 2020 was a year when the Nigerian economy witnessed its worst performance in recent memory due to a combination of deleterious factors.
He identified the factors to include the COVID-19 pandemic which set in toward the end of the first quarter of the year 2020 and the EndSARS protests that occurred in October 2020.
Other factors include the lackluster performance of the oil market and the mixed fortunes of the exchange rate of the Naira, among others.
Chizea urged government to efficiently and cleverly implement some of its programmes and policies in the new year, adding that there was the expectation that Nigeria would witness some growth in its economy.
According to him, there are a flurry of paliative programmes put in place upon the commencement of the pandemic, notably by the Federal Government’s Economic Sustainability Plan and the programme by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
He said: “What is certain is that the activation of the various programmes have been problematic.
“This is as intending beneficiaries encountered sundry difficulties as they attempted to take advantage of the programmes.
“An attempt must now be made to focus on the needed attention to make accessibility seamless.
“Attention must be focused on worsening incidences of insecurity to life and property to bring this terrifying phenomenon under control,” he added.
The economist, however, expressed the belief that the rate of inflation would maintain its upward trajectory in the new year as there were no redeeming features in the horizon.
He said that food inflation would be on the rise as farmers are kept away from their farms due to the fears of kidnappings undermining production as scarcity results.
He also expressed the belief that as the African Continental Free Trade Agreement came on stream early in the year, the authorities would make every efforts to optimise on the inherent opportunities.
“Now that the land borders have been reopened, efforts would be made to make the commencement of interactions seamless,” he said.
He urged government to avoid the temptation to lock down the economy as attention is paid to the resurgence of COVID-19 infections due to the pandemic.
Chzea, who urged government to straddle the delicate balance between protection of lives and the protection of livelihood, noted that Nigeria was hardly in a position to sustain another lockdown, as could be inferred from our recent experience.
He prayed for an improvement in the oil market for some succour.