A top official of the European Union (EU), Fillippo Amato, has recommended the Federal Government to devalue the Naira as part of measures to tackle the economic recession in the country.
Speaking on Monday to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Amato, who is the Counsellor, Head of Trade and Economics Section of EU, said recession should not be addressed with traditional development tools.
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While he blamed the current recession on the fall in oil prices and resurgence of militancy in the Niger Delta, Amato averred that “to come out of recession, the country has to take brave decisions, regardless of how unpopular they may be such as fully and effectively devaluing the Naira.
“Devaluing the Naira is a measure, which will finally reassure investors and attract new capitals to the country.
“At the same time, it will further reduce imports, thereby removing artificial forex restrictions, and removing any potential waste of scarce resources such as the fuel subsidy.
“Improving security (in the Northeast and Niger-delta) and ease of doing business are also key factors on which the government must urgently work to re-launch the economy.’’
Amato said that EU had been at the forefront of aid for trade support activities in Nigeria and ECOWAS.
He said the most important programme the EU was implementing in Nigeria with its partners – GIZ, DFID/Adam Smith International and UNIDO – was the Nigeria competitiveness Support Programme.
“The programme aims at improving the quality of Nigeria products to comply with international standards.
“The programme is providing capacity building to several Ministries, Departments and Agencies such as Ministry of Agriculture, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Consumer Protection Council, Nigerian Customs Services and NADFAC.
“We support the trade institutions in the formulation and implementation of a sound trade policy (support to the Federal Minister of Industry, Trade & Investment, and Nigerian Customs Service).
“This is to improve the business environment, with pilot projects in Kano and Kaduna to improve the procedures for obtaining land titles, and business licences,’’ he said.