A member of the Central Bank of Nigeriaâ€™s (CBNâ€™s) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), Dr. Doyin Salami, Wednesday expressed concern over the quality of human capital in the country.
Salami, who spoke at the Rand Merchant Bank Nigeria (RMB) Investorsâ€™ conference in Lagos, described human capital development as a fundamental challenge in the country.
He stressed the need to design policies that would develop knowledge, competence and creativity in the country.
â€œIf we are able to overcome that with some determination and on a basis which suggests that we demand a national consensus and with educational reform, we would go very far,â€ he added.
Salami, who is also a senior lecture at the Lagos Business School (LBS), noted that with the planned rebasing of the countryâ€™s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), growth may likely slow down towards 2015.
He also argued that the forthcoming general elections could slow down economic growth.
â€œ2014 is effectively an election year and the first half of 2015 would be the conclusion of that election. So we hopefully return to governance by August 2015. It is at that point we then begin to think of how to regain the growth momentum,â€ he noted.
Salami maintained that the challenge to growth in the country was around issues of job creation as well as the upward concentration of income.
â€œWhen you say there is growth, the challenge is how far it is percolating,â€ he queried.
However, he expressed confidence that when the ongoing power reform is concluded, power supply would improve remarkably.
But he pointed out that achieving sustained power supply in the country post privatisation of the power assets would take about three years.
â€œMany of us are underplaying the kind of development that we are seeing in the ICT sector. I think the ICT sector is making significant level of progress,â€ he added.
Speaking on the performance of the naira, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Financial Derivatives Company Limited, Mr. Bismarck Rewane noted that the nationâ€™s currency will continue to be weak. He added that political instability would also be on the increase.
Rewane reiterated the need for diversification of the economy such that it would be shifted from oil dependency.
Furthermore, he said there was need for the country to pursue the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals and achieve international and domestic competitiveness.
â€œJim Oâ€™Neil talks about the BRICS and then the MINT, but there is what we call the fragile and vulnerable countries. Those are the countries whose currencies have actually dropped sharply or have become subjects of speculative attack. Those countries also have elections coming.
â€œSo when you have currency weakness, financial panic and elections coming, it creates a perfect setting for currency adjustment,â€ he explained.
According to the FDC boss, currency values are made up of three major components: demand supply equilibrium, speculative activities and fear or panic.
He argued that the naira is overvalued by about 11 per cent.
Rewane said: â€œIn 2011, the outcome of election was more important than the process, but in 2015, the process would be more important than the outcome.
â€œBut we are optimistic that the outcome is going to be positive and the process would be less contentious. With social media it will difficult to rig.â€
The Managing Director, RMB, Mr. Micheal Larbie said the conference was organised to empower clientsâ€™ of the firm so as to enable them make informed investment decisions.