Financial and economic experts have advised that if Nigeria is to benefit from the exponential growth in its population, investment in the real sector must be explored to grow the country’s economic indices.
They agreed that the rapid population growth in Nigeria might be a blessing in driving economic growth only if the potentials are harnessed.
These were some of the submissions at the BusinessDay 2020 Nigeria Economic Outlook Conference held in Lagos.
As prominent personalities and experts continue to share insights and perspectives on whether or not Nigeria’s huge population growth rate is a blessing or a curse to the nation’s economic growth and development, Managing Director, Old Mutual Life Assurance, Olusegun Omosehin has called for more investments in real sector to leverage population growth for economic development.
Speaking during the panel discussion, Omosehin said Nigeria should not lose the sight of the huge potentials inherent in the human capital for a country like Nigeria due the large population of its people.
“Nigeria’s huge population of about 2001 million people is rather a blessing. We have an active population that is attractive to investors. People between the ages of 15-64 years makes up 50 per cent of our population,” Omoshein said.
According to the panel, a quick take on exploring the potentials of a growing population would be a deliberate effort by the government to grow entrepreneurs in the country to address the issue of unemployment and underemployment, particularly among the youth.
“With the right policies, Nigeria can fully optimise the power inherent in its huge population. We need to focus more on youth entrepreneurship and support the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)”, Omosehin noted.
As an intervention, Omosehin explained that the insurance sector has great potentials of enhancing a viable environment for engagement for the businesses by undertaking capital investments, while also implementing medium and long term insurance policies, which could support the SMEs.
“The insurance sector is capable of accelerating economic growth in Nigeria. According to him, insurance sector needs the right policies to become the backbone of the economy. With the right policies in place, insurance can encourage long-term savings and mobilize funds to finance critical infrastructure deficit in the areas of Transportation, Power and Housing to accelerate economic growth”, he explained
In his reaction, the Chief Economist, Development Bank of Nigeria, Prof Joseph Nnanna, aligned his position on the propositions and further urged the government to focus on investing in quality education, infrastructure, SMEs and girl child empowerment to enhance development and propel Nigeria for a double-digit growth.
The theme for this year’s conference is Nigeria’s Prosperity Ahead 2030: Population, Data, Productivity. The Managing Director, BusinessDay Media, Dr. Ogho Okiti had in his keynote address emphasized the need for an extensive diversification of the Nigeria economic.
Even as the economy of Nigeria advanced 2.28 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2019 compared to an upwardly revised 2.12 percent rise in the previous period making it the fastest expansion since the fourth quarter of 2018, as oil output grew the most in over three years, Okiti opined that reliant on oil might not be sustainable on the long run.
“Performance of the economy follows the dynamics of oil prices and revenue. We need to diversify our exports in terms of productivity gains relating to other countries. To achieve a speedy growth and become one of the Top 20 Economies of the world by 2030, Nigeria needs a growth rate of between 7-10 per cent,” Okiti stated.