• Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Prof Alexander Okwuashi Advocates Economic Reforms To Combat Rising Business Costs


Jun 3, 2024

At the 20th Anniversary Lecture and Awards Ceremony of People’s Forum Magazine & Online, Professor Alexander Favour Okwuashi, Ph.D., FCIS, Proprietor and Founder of the Certified Institute of Shipping of Nigeria and Coastal Polytechnic Magbon, Lagos, delivered a compelling speech on “Business Transactions and Rising Cost: The Way Forward.”

In his address, Professor Okwuashi highlighted several factors contributing to escalating business costs in Nigeria from 2000 to 2024. He pointed to government economic policies, scarcity of foreign currencies, systemic corruption, lack of sustainable productivity in local industries, falling oil prices, high production costs, and unstable power supply as critical issues.

Professor Okwuashi outlined several key recommendations to tackle these challenges. He suggested re-establishing a Marketing Board to implement price control policies, ensuring commodity prices are regulated and not arbitrarily increased. Additionally, he urged the Federal Government, through the Central Bank of Nigeria, to ensure foreign exchange availability for importers, facilitating the importation of goods at minimal costs. An effective monetary policy to boost the Naira’s value was recommended, aiming to enhance the purchasing power of the average citizen. Policies to stop inflationary trends and create wealth and productivity were emphasized as crucial for economic stability.

He called for a revolutionary change in transportation to reduce the cost of goods and services, including reviewing the impacts of oil subsidy removal and implementing genuine palliatives to mitigate these effects. Floating policies to support local industries through steady and affordable energy supply, improved infrastructure, and access to raw materials were highlighted as vital. Stimulating entrepreneurial skills among youths to boost job creation and wealth was seen as essential for sustaining a competitive market. Establishing mechanisms for periodic evaluation of market forces and formulating strategies to address adverse trends were proposed. Additionally, the media should expose anti-economic practices, inform the public on price dynamics, and guide consumers on obtaining goods at fair prices.

In conclusion, Professor Okwuashi emphasized the importance of reintroducing the modified cabotage law to enhance employment, shipbuilding, and capacity building within the maritime economy. He advocated for local content improvement in the shipping and oil and gas sectors, and for cabotage vessel funding to support low-cost transportation and reduce road traffic congestion. These measures, he argued, would significantly boost the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Professor Okwuashi expressed optimism that if these suggestions are critically addressed by the federal government, there would be a notable reduction in the prices of goods and services. He extended his gratitude to the People’s Forum organizers for the opportunity to speak on such a pertinent issue.

During the ceremony, Comptroller Ahmadu Shuaibu was honored with an award for being the most outstanding customs controller, recognizing his exceptional contributions to the field.

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