A Sociologist, Prof. Lai Olurode, on Tuesday urged the Federal Government not to play second fiddle in terms of currency adoption as ECOWAS single currency.
Olurode of the University of Lagos gave the advice in an interview with our reporter in Lagos.
The advice came on the heels of the controversy surrounding the renaming of CFA Franc currency as Eco, by Francophone countries of ECOWAS, which was not the decision ECOWAS members states.
The decision was to adopt `Eco’ as the name of an independent ECOWAS single currency.
According to Olurode, Nigeria has huge natural endowments and advantages over other African countries.
“We have the population and formidable economic and political elite in this country.
“There’s no other country in the region that imports and exports more than Nigeria.
“Nigeria is an economic power in Africa; no country should take precedence over it in terms of currency adopted in Africa or even in the economic sub region of ECOWAS.
“So, there’s no reason that unanimously, Nigeria’s currency, Naira, should not be adopted as a common currency for the ECOWAS sub region,” he said.
Olurode said that other ECOWAS countries which were dependent on Nigeria’s economy were suffering due to border closure.
He argued that the border closure which had negatively impacted on their economy showed that they were just parasites and dependent on the economy of Nigeria.
He advised government to realise its potential and provide good governance that would make the country more attractive for foreigners to come in.
On the new Finance Act, Olurode wished that the Value Added Tax (VAT), remained at five per cent, and not increased to 7.5 per cent.
“How I wished that the VAT had been left at where it was before because, at the end of the day, it is the ordinary consumers that are going to bear the burden,” he said.
Olurode urged government to grow the economy first and give incentives to the producers so as to encourage them.
He said: “I don’t think anybody will want to be in business if he knows that he will be paying up to 50 per cent or use all his profits to pay tax. Why should I be working for other people?
“So, I think the signal should be directed at the producers first so that they will be able to assert themselves in such a way that whatever tax they pay will not be discouraging,” he said.