The Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG) has called on the federal government to ensure that its policies and interventions are aimed at achieving quality economic growth which is inclusive.

Pursuing such policies according to NESG, will lead to a decline in poverty and unemployment rates in the country.

NESG in its economic outlook for 2019 noted that the country’s GDP growth, high poverty and unemployment rates continue to highlight the need for Nigeria to pay more attention to achieving inclusive growth.

Nigeria’s annual GDP growth rate at the last quarter was 2.4 per cent with an unemployment rate of 23.1 per cent. NESG in the outlook noted that while Nigeria had recorded growth rates averaging 7.6 per cent in the 2000’s, unemployment and poverty had also been at high levels as the growth had been concentrated in a few sectors. It noted that the country’s economic growth pattern did not facilitate the creation of economic opportunities for many, which is crucial in addressing the pertinent issues of poverty, unemployment and social exclusion.

According to NESG, “Gsovernment policies and intervention must aim at achieving “quality” economic growth that delivers a significant reduction in poverty and unemployment. Nigeria faces an enormous task of implementing crucial policies and reforms that will address the issues of poverty, unemployment and social exclusion.”

The group in its 2018 Macroeconomic Outlook, had highlighted the need for policy makers to focus beyond GDP growth numbers but to concentrate on the quality of growth of sectors that contribute to the country’s growth.

“Nigeria needs to implement reforms that will open up and attract investments into key subsectors within the manufacturing and agro-processing sector, thus, creating opportunities across the value chain,” it said.

The report also identified reforms in education and health sectors as well as improving the quality of governance and the institutions as critical elements in delivering inclusive growth in Nigeria. It also emphasised the role of governance in delivering the broad-based and inclusive economic growth and in ensuring social inclusion, saying “pursuing inclusive growth calls for a whole-of-government approach that leverages informed decision-making and aligns vision, incentives and delivery mechanisms across the policy-making cycle.

“Better governance of industry has a strong link with economic diversification, value chain development and job creation. The central role of the Nigerian government in defining sectoral goals and plans; guiding the policy process; identifying key constraints within sectors; addressing these constraints while ensuring policy coordination across the board is crucial in opening up sectors to investments, enhancing value addition and creating jobs in the process.

“In addition, improving the regulatory environment for efficiency and simplification of processes is essential in both attracting and retaining investments into strategic sectors. Effective government regulation sets the tone for growth of small businesses, innovation of industries and global competitiveness of a nation. It is no doubt that countries with better regulations are found to be more competitive than those with a harsh regulatory environment.”