A day after speaking in Kaduna at the APC Progressive Governors forum, Prof. Charles Soludo, former Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has reiterated that the current economic crisis in the country was self inflicted. The former CBN boss made the assertion in a key note speech he delivered at the Delta state Economic Investment Summit held at Asaba, the Delta State Capital. He stated that oil mostly had been a curse to the country and that the collapse of oil prices may possibly be the only way to take the country out of its economic quagmire. “For too long, we have lived with borrowed robes, and I think for the next generation, for the 400 million Nigerians expected in this country by the year 2050, oil cannot be the way forward for the future”. “Oil, for most part of the country, has been a curse. I thank God that, at this particular point, we are moving forward. There is a saying that every disappointment is a blessing, and this is now an opportune time to discover the blessing and that is the hard work that should begin”. While insisting that the economic downturn was avoidable, he however commended the federal government for coming to terms with the realities of the of the situation on ground. “I want to commend the federal government that is finally coming to terms with the fact that, you cannot fix prices and quantities at the same time. If you fix prices, if you fix the nominal variables, the quantities will adjust. “We must deal with the exchange rate issue. Currently the exchange rate quandrum is largely overshooting and it is self inflicted. Those so called 41 items ineligible for foreign exchange should never have been the concern of monetary authorities, it is wrong yesterday, it is wrong today and it will be wrong tomorrow”. Saying that economic and political reforms were veritable prerequisites for a sustainable economy.
The former CBN Governor also advocated for partial return to the 1963 republican constitution. In his words, “We should go back to a version, just a version, not completely, of the 1963 republican Constitution on prescription and revenue thing, where the regions have control over their resources including natural resources and simply pay tax to the federal government.”
In his contribution, Mr Jim Ovia, Chairman, Zenith Bank Plc and Chairman of the summit called for the development of information Technology, sports and Tourism in the state. He described the state endowed with over 40 percent of the country’s gas reserve and until very recently the fourth largest producer of oil in the country as a land of tremendous oppurtunities and infinite possibilities.
The summit was attended by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, other top government officials,Traditional rulers, Stake holders and Captains of industries.