The Managing Director of Cowry Assets Management Limited, Mr Johnson Chukwu, has said that the Nigerian government will have to focus on developing manufacturing, ICT and trade to grow the country’s economy.
Chukwu, who stated this at the Nairametrics Economic Outlook webinar held on Saturday with the theme: “Resetting Nigeria’s Economic Growth Trajectory”, said the government must look beyond agriculture to focus on “these key sectors that are capable of growing the economy.”
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According to him, agriculture, in most countries is basically focused on food security, adding that agriculture cannot sustain the economy, but will ensure food security.
The Cowry Assets MD, who was one of the guest speakers at the webinar, said, “It is absolutely necessary for us to have what we call food security. So, agriculture is important, but it’s not what will lead us to become a sophisticated, industrialised and developed economy.
“Now, let’s look at the sectors that are critical: the manufacturing sector today accounts for just about four per cent or thereabout of the GDP. And unfortunately, that is the sector that should create employment for an economy where about 45 million youths are unemployed.
“You need to grow the sectors that will create employment and to grow the manufacturing sector we need to do the heavy lifting by addressing the issue of infrastructure. We need to address the logistic issues at the seaports for import and export of goods and services: the airports, the transport infrastructure, the rail lines, the highways, and then make funding available to manufacturers.”
Chukwu further argued that the second largest contributor to the economy today was the ICT sector.
He said, “And for the last six years ICT used to grow at almost 20 to 30 per cent, and it’s now growing at about 12 per cent. So, we need to focus on that sector, and it’s actually the new economy. That’s where the digital economy is. That’s one sector that the government must do everything to stabilize.”
He noted that the third largest contributor to the economy was the trade sector. According to him, the sector accounts for about 16.1 per cent of the GDP despite the fact that the economy has been in recession for a long time, believing that the government will also need to pay serious attention to the sector to grow the economy.