The news of the formation of an Economic Advisory Council (EAC) by President Muhammadu Buhari is both timely and commendable. This, by far, is a clear demonstration of the determination of Mr. President to re-energize the management of the economy in his second term in office. Nigerians, and indeed the Private Sector, are highly desirous of an effective and knowledge driven team that will lead on the economic front.
The beauty of this team, apart from their pedigree, is its composition of private sector citizens who we believe will operate independently and effectively. The team we believe will not be shackled with the bureaucracy of government and hopefully the political interference and correctness of our clime. They are more likely to be receptive to a wide range of opinions and innovations, even if deferring from the norm.
MAN, therefore, propose that the team in partnership with the private sector should carry out a critical and comprehensive review of the current policy initiatives that drive the actions of government and urgently harmonize the outcomes to craft an agenda that will guide the management of the economy going forward.
Already on ground are policy initiatives such as the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP), Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), the 2020-2022 Medium Term Fiscal Framework and Fiscal Strategy. It behooves the Council to recommend pragmatic programmes that will improve upon the achievements already made in some areas such as Ease of Doing Business in the country.
The EAC is coming on the heels of the promised National Action Committee on African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The AfCFTA is unarguably the most pressing preoccupation of continental economic actors in Africa today. The right composition of the Committee will augur well for the needed synergy with the Council to boost our chances of being net gainers in the continental free trade area. We eagerly look forward to this prospect.
Again, the fact that the EAC will have monthly technical sessions as well as scheduled quarterly meetings with the President may guarantee the attention of government and implementation of their advice.
The Organized Private Sector, particularly MAN, is adequately prepared and eager to engage the Advisory Council in a bid to achieve the desired growth and development of the nation’s economy.