Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment Dr Okechukwu Enelemah has blamed recession on corruption, unethical practices and lack of acceptance of responsibility by past administrations and institutions.
According to him, transparency and strict application of ethics in political and corporate governance would make Nigeria better.
“When a nation embraces ethics, it prospers. Our nation over the years fell into practices that led to its collapse,” he said.
Enelemah was guest speaker at the 2016 Annual Corporate Governance Conference in Lagos at the weekend. It was organised by the Society for Corporate Governance Nigeria, with theme: Competing in an Era of Economic Changes: Corporate Governance and Structural Reforms.
Other speakers included President of the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE) and former Access Bank’s Managing Director Mr Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, NSE Chief Executive Officer Mr Oscar Onyema, Chief Executive Officer of ChapelHill Genham Group Mr Bolaji Balogun and Chief Executive of RTC Advisory Services Ltd Mr Opeyemi Agbaje.
To Enelemah, there need to reduce recurrent expenditure and expand the revenue base to fix the economy.
“We need to broaden revenue generation. We need to cut recurrent expenditure of government. Ghost workers should go. Infrastructure needs to be upgraded, but the government can’t solve the infrastructure problem alone.
“Clean up the public contracting process. There’s need for accountability and transparency. We want to be a country that creates a better alternative,” he said.
The government, he said, needs Nigerians’ support. “You can’t do it without the larger society. You can’t even be corrupt on your own. You need the larger society to partner with you. We have a major responsibility to come together to work for our greatness,” he said.
Aig-Imoukhuede said Nigeria needs private capital to help fund infrastructure and to exit recession.
“Our development and growth will partly depend on private capital – domestic or foreign-based,” he said.
Agbaje said Nigeria did not have a clear agenda on private capital, adding that an economic programme anchored on private capital strategy should be encouraged…’’
He added that the country was ripe for an anti-trust law and a competition law, both of which he said would aid the economy and discourage anti-competitive behaviour.
Aig-Imoukhuede, however, said there was need to be flexible rather than eliminating all forms of monopoly so as to encourage more inflow of capital into the economy.
Balogun urged the government to communicate better with citizens. “There is so much happening within government that is not being communicated to us,” he said.
Also at the event were former Minister of Industry Mrs Nike Akande, former chairman of Nestle Nigeria and Dr Olusegun Osunkeye, who chaired the event, and Prof Fabian Ajogwu (SAN), among others. The Nation