Head of Trade and Economics section of the European Union, Fillippo Amato, has advised the Federal Government to further devalue the naira as part of measures to tackle economic recession.
According to Amato, FG has to take brave decisions, regardless of how unpopular they may be such as fully and effectively devaluing the naira, which would in turn reassure investors and attract new capitals to the country.
“At the same time, it will further reduce imports, thereby removing artificial forex restrictions, and removing any potential waste of scarce resources such as the fuel subsidy,” Amato added
He also said improving security in the Northeast and Niger-delta and ease of doing business are also key factors on which the government must urgently work to re-launch the economy.
Mr. Amato who said that EU had been at the forefront of aid for trade support activities in Nigeria and ECOWAS, said Nigeria also needed to take advantage of the devaluation of its currency by diversifying its sources of foreign exchange revenue and this mainly through boosting its non-oil exports.
“We support the trade institutions in the formulation and implementation of a sound trade policy (support to the Federal Minister of Industry, Trade & Investment, and Nigerian Customs Service).
ALSO SEE: Naira may hit N500/$ soon, says expert
According to him, the programme would help improve the business environment, with pilot projects in Kano and Kaduna to improve the procedures for obtaining land titles, and business licences.
Mr. Amato said that EU would increase its support to the country under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) if ratified. “EPA aims at boosting industrialisation and sustainable development of West Africa, both through improved (predictable, transparent and long-term) trade relations and through a development cooperation component.”
“In addition, on Sept. 14, the EU has launched a European External Investment Plan which will further support private sector investments in the African continent, including Nigeria.
The plan, he said would support investments in the continent by providing targeted guarantees and ameliorating the investment climate and the overall policy environment in partner countries.
“The Plan will be implemented through the new European Fund for Sustainable Development, with EU funds totalling 3.35 billion Euros until 2020.