For the country to get out of recession, former President Olusegun Obasanjo has called for an increase in the volume of trade internally and externally and the establishment of a commodity exchange to ensure stability in the prices of agricultural produce.
Obasanjo made the suggestion in Abeokuta, Ogun State, on Monday during the opening of the 8th National Council on Industry, Trade and Investment currently holding in the state capital.
He advised the government to also put in place an aggressive coastal shipping system to boost trans-African trade with other countries on the continent from the current 12 per cent to about 22 per cent.
He explained that there was a need to spend less on goods that the nation could do away with, earn more from the manufacturing sector and borrow to finance critical sectors of the economy.
The former President also advocated financial discipline with the necessary political will to implement the various policies and programmes of the government aimed at taking the country out of recession.
Obasanjo also kicked against the constituency projects by members of the National Assembly, saying this must stop.
In his address, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said that the current recession would be short-lived.
He said changes would come “once the Federal Government is able to resolve the issues concerning pipeline vandalism and focus on a sustainable diversification policy.”
Osinbajo said that the loss of about 60 per cent of the gas for power generation and 60 per cent of revenue were largely responsible for the economic challenges currently facing the country.
He dismissed predictions that the recession would last till around the year 2020 and assured Nigerians that the Federal Government would not rest until the problem was resolved.
Osinbajo expressed optimism that despite the drop in electricity generation to less than 3,000 megawatts, Nigeria could still meet the 7,000MW target by 2017.
He said work on critical transmission stations would be completed by the first quarter of next year.
He explained that the Federal Government was currently working on eight to nine transmission stations across the country to achieve the 7,000MW generation capacity.
“The President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government is equally working on increasing gas supplies to enable the Federal Government increase power supply throughout the country towards improving the energy needs of the country,” the vice president stated.
He lamented the menace of vandals, which he noted had caused the drop in gas supply to the power stations, adding that the Federal Government was already working on ways of ending the activities of vandals, which constituted an act of economic sabotage.
Osinbajo said the Federal Government was already encouraging a privately-owned refinery to refine 650,000 barrels of crude oil per day to ease the problem of petroleum products’ supply across the country.