On Monday 3rd October, the Head of Commerce and Trade European Union, Fillippo Amato advised the Federal Government of Nigeria to devalue the Naira in order to tackle the ongoing economic recession.
He said the recession surfaced due to a number of factors, including the fall in oil prices and the resurgence of militancy in the Niger Delta and can not be addressed with traditional development tools.
“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,” Fillippo Amato said in his interview with Newsmen.
“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,’’ he said.
Fillippo Amato also said that EU had been at the forefront of aid for trade support activities in Nigeria and ECOWAS. According to him, 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.
Nigeria needs to take advantage of the devaluation of its currency by diversifying its sources of foreign exchange revenue and this mainly through boosting its non-oil exports, Amato advised, stating that EU would increase its support to the country under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) if ratified.He, however, advised Nigeria to take into consideration all the opportunities the EPA would offer to Nigeria and communicate them to all interested stakeholders.
He, however, advised Nigeria to take into consideration all the opportunities the EPA would offer to the country and communicate them to all interested stakeholders.