Nigeria accounts for about half of West Africa’s population with approximately 202 million people and one of the largest youth populations in the world. Replete with an abundance of natural resources, it is Africa’s largest oil exporter with natural gas reserves.
The economy’s dependence on crude oil and lack of diversification has been a source of debate for decades, but the COVID-19 pandemic and the volatility of global oil prices has put the country in a very precarious position.
In anticipation of the aftershock of the pandemic, the School of Media and Communication, Pan-Atlantic University organized a webinar themed Effective Leadership in Uncertain Circumstances. Panellists included Odunayo Sanya, Ag. Executive Secretary, MTN Foundation; Lampe Omoyele, Managing Director, Nitro121, and Steve Babaeko, Chief Creative Officer, X3M Ideas.
Describing the role of the government in strengthening the economy, the panelists opined on some short-term and long-term initiatives that should be implemented.
Emphasizing MSMEs’ position as the backbone of the society, Odunayo Sanya advised that business may have to seek out symbiotic partnerships that would help emphasise strengths and cover up the weaknesses. She proposed that extension of loan repayment schedules, and reduction of borrowing rates could help as well.
Cutting out wastage was another area Steve Babaeko called attention to. He proposed that the government would need to formulate more efficient policies and any excesses should be utilized in other areas.
Lampe Omoyele added that extra sacrifices may need to be made – taking pay cuts in salaries and allowances should not be off the table for both private and government executives.
The Ag. Executive Secretary of the MTN Foundation and author of Alphabets of Leadership for Young Minds, Sanya, also pointed out that significant and sustainable investments would have to be made to upskill certain industries like agriculture, manufacturing, education, and obviously health.
The panellists also discussed the reality of the situation and admitted that the government may not be able to provide these necessities. So, private organizations may need to seek areas where they can collaborate.
In her closing remarks, Odunayo Sanya stated that the government should put in place a proper monitoring and evaluation system that could give near real-time status, adding that it would also help guide the decision-making process.