Nigeria needs to provide palliative for SMEs to kickstart economy after lockdown ends – Omofaye

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Mr. Boason Omofaye CEO Frontier Africa Reports, has called for investment cluster groups in Nigeria, to support key sectors of the economy post COVID-19 pandemic. He made this statement in an interview in the WebTV Market Review Program.

He also charged the political and ruling class of Nigeria to learn from this pandemic and engage the citizens in ways that build trust and confidence in the policy space and economic management.

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The financial analyst noted that Nigeria has a robust business class that has the financial capacity to mobilize capital that can address key challenges of sectors in the economy.

Omofaye stressed the importance of government engaging business leaders in the country with a view to creating an enabling environment to invest in the country.

Speaking further he stressed the need for the government to continue its engagement with major private sector groups like the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) amongst others to ensure that it is driving pro-market and inclusive economic policies.

At the global level, he cited the truce between Saudi Arabia and Russia as a source of optimism for the global oil market in the years 2020 and 2021.

According to him this would imply the rebalancing of the Nigerian budget as an oil producer and member of OPEC.

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He stated that the Federal Government has already reviewed the 2020 budget benchmark which is now $30 per barrel. The recent international Brent crude oil price is $31.45.

Concerning this week’s IMF /World Bank conference in Washington DC USA, he said Frontier Africa Report (FAR) is tracking the meetings and sessions to give updates on global economic conditions.

FAR would be looking at the various reports from Africa on health, safety, security, and climate change which would be the main headline topics for the Spring 2020 meeting.

On COVID-19 cases which have gone passed 300 in Nigeria, he believed it is a learning curve for the country in pandemic management.

Looking at the role of international financial institutions, he acknowledged the fact that there have been several interventions to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and its pressures on emerging markets.

Omofaye also said the fact that there have been ongoing discussions between African Ministers of Finance and key global institutions to explore debt relief outcomes during the COVID-19 outbreak suggests that global market is preparing for a soft rather than hard landing for emerging African economies.

He also acknowledged the role of IOSCO in ensuring stability and efficiency in the global capital market in the course of the spread of the disease.

According to Omofaye the fiscal authorities in frontier markets will have to do more domestic than foreign borrowings, as there is need to recalibrate post pandemic.

Speaking on market regulations, the ace financial journalist and analyst said that since trading is now off the grid, market regulators need to prevent technological manipulations in particular for sensitive markets such as derivatives, and ensure tight oversight in line with stated rules and regulations.

The capital market regulators have more difficult work to do as they no longer have officers in the field and as such, they would have to place phone calls, emails to check market professionals, listed companies, issuers to be sure that activities are properly done.

According to Omofaye as soon as the Coronavirus lockdown is over there is need to directly intervene in small businesses, MSMEs, Agriculture and so on.

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Samson Gbenga Salau [Editorial Board Adviser] Gbenga Samuel Salau is a professional journalist with over 17 years experience in journalism, he is a graduate of Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan. On completion of his youth service, he joined The Guardian as a freelance journalist and was later absorbed as a staff. While in the University, he was a campus journalist reporting for the Independence Hall and Faculty of Arts Press Clubs. As a campus journalist, he won the following awards; Independence Hall Press Best News writer; University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best News Reporter/Writer; First Runner-up, Reuben Abati Award for Investigative Journalism; Association of Faculty of Arts Students’ Press Best Reporter; University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best Political Writer; Winner, Reuben Abati Award for Investigative Journalism, and University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best Interviewer. He served the Association of Communication and Language Arts Students, as the Public Relation Officer, the same year he was appointed the News Editor of the Association of Faculty of Arts Students Press. The following session, he was made the General Editor, and a member of the 13-man University of Ibadan Students’ Union Transition Committee. As a reporter in The Guardian, in 2014, he won the Promasidor Quill Award Best Report on Nutrition and DAME Business Reporting category. In the 2015 edition of the Promasidor Quill Award, he won the best Report on Nutrition and Brand Advocate Categories, while in 2016, he won the NMMA Print Journalist of the Year, first runner-up Golden Pen Reporter of the Year and SERAs CSR Awards. Gbenga Salau loves traveling, reading, and listening to songs with good lyrics no matter the genre.

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