By Obinna Chima
Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Financial System Stability, Dr. Kingsley Moghalu, has said the planned rebasing of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is very necessary and helpful to the economy.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) had indicated the rebasing would be done next year. The rebased GDP figures were initially meant to be released in January 2012, but were shifted to August 2012 following the petrol subsidy strike at the beginning of last year. Thereafter, it was extended to October and the new date is first quarter of 2014.
The GDP rebasing is expected to increase the estimated size of the Nigerian economy by 40 per cent, which would boost the economy from about $250 billion, to about $350 billion. That brings it very close to South Africa’s currently $385 billion economy. Specifically, the initiative is to change the base year for the country’s GDP computation from 1990 to 2008.
But Moghalu who spoke at a recent forum in Lagos, pointed out that although the exercise was necessary and helpful, Nigerians should not just put their hope on the figures that would come out from the exercise, “and begin to feel that we have arrived because our GDP now approximates that of South Africa. That would be a mirage.”
He insisted that there was need for everybody in the country, especially policy makers, to work towards improving the quality of life in the country, the country’s ranking in the Human Development Index, and reduce the poverty level which he put at about 60 per cent.
The central bank deputy governor added: “So those are the real things we need to work on. When we rebase our GDP, it becomes so huge, but it doesn’t mean that the infrastructure that I see in South Africa whenever I go there exists in Nigeria. It is creating those infrastructure here and not just having an absolute GDP figures that brings development.
“I agree that rebasing is essential because countries rebase their GDP every five years and at most, 10 years. But we haven’t done that in 20 years. Therefore our economic statistics are totally out of place as far GDP growth and output is concerned.
“What is happening is a healthy competition within African countries. The best way for Africa to grow is for countries to look at what their neighbours are doing. So in that context, it is not inappropriate for Nigeria to aspire to become a bigger economy than South Africa.”
Heritage Bank Urges SMEs to Focus on Innovation
Heritage Bank Limited has advised small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) in the country to focus greatly on innovation in order to access the unfolding opportunities for growth and development in the economy.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Heritage Bank Limited, Mr. Ifie Sekibo, who said this, noted that although SMEs were vital for economic growth and employment generation, their activities was being hampered by lack of adequate finance. He attributed the challenges facing SME promoters in the country to inadequate capacity building and education. He listed other factors hindering the growth of SMEs to include inadequate financial record keeping, poor managerial skills, lack of access to international markets, inability to provide collateral and poor access to infrastructure.
Sekibo added that for the country to achieve its goal of being one of the 20 most developed countries by 2020, stakeholders in the SME sector must collaborate through the establishment of a solid framework supported by clearly articulated government policy.
“SMEs enhance competition and entrepreneurship, and their proper development has a positive impact on innovation and productivity growth. Developing the SME sector, therefore, requires a concerted effort from all stakeholders”, he submitted,” the Heritage Bank boss added.
Meanwhile, the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS) has commended Heritage Bank over its commitment to anti-money laundering by employing professionally-certified anti-money laundering experts. The commendation was contained in a letter by ACAMS’s Communications Manager, Karla Monterrosa-Yancey, following the certification of Chief Okenwa Akamadu of Heritage Bank as a full member of the association.
Monterrosa-Yancey described the certification of Akamadu as a merit that not only positively reflected his status as a global professional, but also conferred on his employer an objective confirmation of its proficiency and capability in the dynamic anti-money laundering field.
Female Accountants Promote Women Empowerment
The Chairperson, Society of Women Accountants of Nigeria (SWAN), Mrs. Joy Onome Olaolu, has said the association will continue to empower indigent and intelligent girls in the country.
She said this on Tuesday during her swearing-in and investiture ceremony held in Lagos.
Olaolu explained that a lot of indigent girls in the society could not meet their aspirations in life because of lack of funds adequate support.
“All I have said we are going to do are related to charity and you know there are a lot of indigent and intelligent girls that wants to go to school. Our desire is that SWAN will help them in each state of the federation and they will be good mothers tomorrow after being trained,” she added.
Olaolu, who is an Executive Director at Fidelity Bank Plc, pointed out that SWAN would also contribute to the nation building.
“We admonish our members to be good mothers, wives, girls, and lead by example before going into the corporate world and also assist our husbands, children who have learnt from us, will also be doing the work,” she advised.
Speaking on the scholarship by the association, she maintained that the aim was to award at least one student from each state of the federation over the next 5 years, adding that in the last two years, scholarship had been given to female students from Delta, Bauchi, and River states respectively.
The association also awarded scholarship to five female students each from Kebbi, Abia, Ogun and two from Lagos state.