On 30th January 2024, the Franco-Nigeria Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) in collaboration with Stren & Blan Partners hosted a January Breakfast Meeting to discuss and give a bird eye view of the Nigerian 2024 Economy. The event which took place at Eko Hotels and Suites commenced with a warm welcome address from Mr. Laurent Favier, Consul General of France to Nigeria, where he expressed a great optimism towards the structural reforms put in place to develop the country’s economy by the new administration. While commending the efforts of the organizers of the event, Mr Favier highlighted the significant presence of French businesses in Nigeria and expressed his optimism towards their continued growth and contribution to the economy.
Read also: What to expect from Nigeria’s economy in 2024
OPENING COMMENT BY FOUNDING PARTNER, STREN AND BLAN PARTNERS
Shortly after the warm welcome address, Mr. Amala Umeike, Founding Partner, Stren and Blan Partners delivered the opening comment where he gave an overview of the firm’s goals, values, and commitment to its clients. He emphasized the importance of active participation in economic conversations as they tend to shape the country’s economy. He also hinted at a forthcoming global conversation on Nigeria’s economic landscape to be held in London, emphasizing the interconnectedness of Nigeria’s economy with the global market.
A BIRD’S EYE VIEW OF THE NIGERIAN 2024 ECONOMY PRESENTATION
Mr Taiwo Oyedele, Chairman, Presidential Fiscal Policy, and Tax Reform Committee gave a detailed presentation that was centred on the global economy context in Nigeria and the country’s social economy reality. He discussed in detail how interest rates and inflation could lead to a recession and eventually ruin the Nigerian economy. He addressed challenges currently affecting the economy including exchange management which he described as a major factor slowing down the effect of the reforms put in place. He also pointed out some key developments since the removal of subsidy in the past year. These developments include more exports than imports, a significant increase in oil production, and N8 trillion saved as a result of Naira floatation and subsidy amongst others. He blamed the stagnant economy despite these developments on market inefficiencies caused by illicit and speculative demands by individuals.
He highlighted some reforms put in place to regulate the economy including the Fiscal reforms and concluded his presentation by suggesting regulation of interest rates and economic growth facilitation, tackling corruption, and a cultural shift as means towards fostering a stable economic environment.
Following the presentation was the panel session which consisted of Moses Umoru, Director General FNCCI, Uche Okoli, Audit & Assurance partner, Mazars in Nigeria, Ozioma Agu, Partner, Energy, Finance, and Infrastructure, Stren & Blan partners, Prince Ojeabulu, Chief Executive Officer, Rensource Energy, and Christian Mulamula, Head of Office, Nigeria International Finance Corporation.
During this session, Ozioma Agu expressed her optimism towards the downstream sector, pinpointing transformative projects like the commencement of the Dangote refinery and the Port Harcourt refinery expected to commence soon leading to lesser dependence on imported petroleum products. Despite the electricity challenges faced notwithstanding the large gas resources in the country, she pointed out poor policy implementation as one of the setbacks in the sector. Her proffered solutions include the need for investors, people capable of helping the country tap resources it possesses, and the need to fix the demand and supply forces.
She concluded by saying, that Nigeria has an abundance of gas reserves and what is required currently are investors with resources, manpower, and capacity to maximize the untapped resources present in the country.
Uche Okoli stressed the need for businesses to focus on changes to corporate taxes, and educational taxes which recently increased from 2.5% to 3%, and also ensure tax compliance as it essentially impacts the tax burden on organizations. She further emphasized the need for businesses to engage in sustainable business materials and be prepared for tax audits and investigations.
Mr. Christian Mulamula discussed the gas sector as an area the International Financial Corporation is looking to fund. While referring to the World Bank’s intention to donate grants and subsidies to the Gas sector, he iterated that the corporation was also looking to fund private developers seeking development financing. Another industry highlighted was the chemical-making sector. He expressed the need for growth in the production of relevant chemicals such as fertilizers and methanol.
Prince Ojeabulu concluded the session by highlighting the urgent need for subsidy removal on electricity, which is premised on making the cost of energy cost-effective and allowing for investors to operate in a properly running market. Furthermore, the need for policy implementation in all areas was stressed by the various panellists.
The event ended with a closing remark by Alhaji Usman Mohammed, Chairman Board of Directors who appreciated the panellists and attendees of the event. He urged attendees to leverage the insights gained to drive meaningful change in their respective spheres and put in personal efforts toward navigating and implementing policies.
The FNCCI January Breakfast Meeting provided a platform for robust discussions and actionable insights aimed at steering Nigeria toward a path of sustainable economic growth and prosperity in 2024 and beyond.
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