he global financial crisis, which lasted from 2007 to early 2009, put enormous strain on financial markets and banking institutions around the world. As if that was not enough, the recent COVID-19 outbreak that plagued the world throughout 2020 almost “shut down” the earth. Up until now, some countries are yet to get over this global pandemic as it has reoccurred in some parts of the globe and like the measures taken last year, those countries still battling COVID-19 have gone back to shutting down their economy. As a measure to curbing the spread of COVID-19, all countries of the world had to observe a partial/total lockdown of their economy for most part of 2020. One would agree that the entire world has plunged into a recession of some sort and governments around the globe are taking measures to put their respective economies back on the track of growth and development.
Times like this comes with a wave of detrimental effects on the masses in relation to their jobs – job losses as a result of layoffs by companies and firms, increased unemployment (among young ones especially), changes in job status (from full-time to part-time/contract work), and a reduction in work hours (short-term labour) or income are all examples of negative consequences. They may also result in long-term decreases in future incomes for an entire generation, while workers’ physical and mental health may be harmed as a result of job insecurity. What should governments do to assist the public vis-à-vis labour markets and workers during such a prolonged time of economic uncertainty, given that the present pandemic does not appear to be going away in the foreseeable future?
Here are the lists of a few steps the government can take to help our drowning economy back up afloat:
Nothing seems to thrive in a war-ravaged economy. Insecurity of lives and properties drive investors away; existing businesses might wind-up therefore leading to job losses, increased unemployment, and so on. A safe and conducive environment creates a healthy atmosphere for businesses to exist and grow, attracts investors locally and internationally, thereby creating more jobs and employment opportunities for the citizenry.
Diversifying the economy
(i). Agriculture is a dwindling sector in Nigeria. Based on the sector’s declining employee levels, value added is declining as compared to manufacturing and services. The demographics of agricultural labourers help explain the decline in employment; in the last three decades, the majority of Nigerian farmers have been older. Clearly, today’s population is dominated by youngsters. As a result, both the government and business stakeholders must encourage young people to work in agriculture.
(ii). Manufacturing is worth of consideration because it has historically been a robust sector, but it has recently weakened. Nigerian manufacturing is unhealthy; effective bailouts are required, as well as recognition of the fact that the world is transitioning from the Third to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which will include individualized production, end-to-end engineering in a virtual process chain and production networks, and smart growth. Through full digitization, computers can communicate with one another, minimizing the need for unskilled human labour. Such technologies can increase efficiency and, as a result, profitability, which is a major driver of foreign investment.
(iii). Services in Nigeria are at a crawl in terms of value added. Nigerian enterprises compete with other developing countries in various segments of the sector, but they cannot compete with developed countries in this regard (provision of services). Financial services and insurance companies, for example, were founded early in Nigeria but were not operating well as the same level with her international counterparts. Innovative and sound policies are required to maintain forward momentum and to implement the most advantageous technologies and strategies, leveraging the country’s multinational and aged investments, and private firms to benefit younger service enterprises; these will stimulate growth and efficiency, as well as attract foreign resources.
Focus on education, research and innovation
The primary pillars for supporting healthy, resilient, and dynamic economies are education, research, and innovation. Therefore, in order for Nigeria to compete with the rest of the world and reposition itself from a state of economic recession to one of economic prosperity, drastic reforms in education, research, and innovation must be implemented, with greater incentives and fewer barriers for foreign talents, particularly the best minds in managerial, social, and natural sciences, as well as practitioners. With global competition and the use of technology increasing, the Nigerian government should be serious about investing in education and skill training, since no country can compete effectively in the expanding global market place with poorly educated and skilled graduates. Technology, information, creativity, and innovation are claimed to be the major factors of production in the new world economy. The quality of a country’s human capital, not the amount of land or mineral resources it has, defines its richness and progress. Education can help people flourish in difficult economic times, but it will not alter Nigeria on its own.
Externalities, culture, SMEs, and local products are some of the topics that need to be filtered:
Nigerians are currently confronted with a number of economic issues, including an aging population with a decreasing life expectancy, rising competition from other countries (particularly in manufacturing and technical know-how) that provide advantages that Nigeria cannot match. In addition, with the rapid speed of globalization, industrialized countries are actively chasing international markets in order to boost their GDP and brand image. Nigeria suffers from a lack of effective filtration of harmful externalities before they are ingested by citizens, particularly the youth. In Nigeria, manufactured goods cannot be exported until the domestic market is saturated with trade surpluses and the country has the power to drive industrialisation in adjacent nations through foreign direct investment. Furthermore, industrialized countries’ technology and technical know-how can be provided to Nigeria to improve mass production. Following the realization of these goals, Nigerian native items can be extensively offered in big department shops, with less imported products. Individuals and organisations interested in SMEs should have an enabling environment created by the government. After a thorough examination of Japan, one unspoken characteristic that emerges is the high rate of SMEs. Creating an enabling environment which might take the shape of cash subsidies, reduced taxes, and long-term policies that help SMEs expand their companies despite financial or other constraints.
Anti-corruption strategies and solid policy:
The phrase “policy” comes from the word “politics.” Policy and politics are inextricably linked. Politics is the political decision-making process that involves a variety of loci and actors. Policy is a framework of guidelines for action. The phrase “public policy” should be understood in order to properly define the term “policy” so that the idea of politics can be reflected. Public policy analysis evolved as a science of action, a contribution of experts (analysts), to government decision-making processes. Government policy is an attempt to address difficulties by enacting laws, rules, judgments, or activities that are relevant to a specific situation. As a result, the policy must identify and handle difficulties that arise in many sectors. Infrastructure, management and operation, regulation, and allocation are all areas where policies are concentrated (man, material, money and machinery). It is necessary for the public and private sectors, businesses and industries, as well as the government and ministries, to develop strong policies that serve as the regulatory framework, tenets, and constitution of such an organization. Other than for the good of the citizens, the major essence of public policy cannot be far-fetched from or beyond. As a result, it is critical to review the formulated policy before implementing it, ensuring that it passes the following conditions to ensure its efficacy and efficiency. The criteria are as follows: 1. analytically based; 2. economically sound; 3. politically acceptable; 4. socially credible; 5. environmentally appropriate; 6. sustainable; and 7. technologically feasible.