Don’t ignore warning on possible recession, Utomi tells Nigerians

A professor of political economy, Pat Utomi, has said the alarm the Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Zamfara State Governor Abdulaziz Yari raised about a likely round of recession by mid-2020 should not be taken lightly.

The renowned economist called for decisive steps to ensure that the country becomes a producing nation.

He warned that if proactive steps are not taken to ensure that Nigeria joins the league of producing nations, it may become a failed nation.

Utomi spoke at the seventh edition of a capacity development summit, titled: Excelling in Emerging Economies, convened by the Resident Pastor of House On the Rock, Harvest House, Ibadan, Pastor Idowu Ogedengbe.

The event held at Ibadan Business School.

He said: “It’s all about production and output. We are still relying too much on crude oil prices to determine the direction of our economy. That is not good. There is very little we can do to control the direction of pricing of crude oil. The general trend points to a southward trend, even if it holds momentarily, because there is anxiety over Iran or other developments, politically.

“The bottom-line is that oil prices are going to tack. There are so many alternatives: America is pumping so much shale that they are going to become leading reserves for fossil fuels in the world; their interest is to keep the prices low and make money in their economy cheap.

“So, you can’t but expect the prices to go south, and south is the key basis for supporting consumption economies that do not produce and in which public officials will spend a fortune.

“I think it is difficult to anticipate a recession. If the output quarter-on-quarter will keep suffering at this stage, I won’t be surprised if there is one (recession). But a recession is a technical thing; it is an indicator. But what is important is how much are we emphasise production.”

Utomi noted that 40 years ago, Nigeria was ahead of China in manufacturing, adding that the reverse had become the case.