By Aliyu Dangida
The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has lined up economic experts and technocrats from global and local institutions to interrogate the state of Nigeria’s economy, missing gaps, and the role of the media executives/editors in resolving the challenges, at its 19th annual conference scheduled for November 14 to 18, 2023, in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.
The conference, which would be attended by over 400 media executives and Senior Editors, would be chaired by the Founder/Chairman of Vanguard Newspapers Group, Uncle Sam Amuka, while President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is expected to declare the conference open on November 15, 2023.
In a statement issued by NGE President, Eze Anaba and the General Secretary, Dr Iyobosa Uwugiaren, the umbrella body of editors/media executives in Nigeria, said this year’s conference, which would also witness the launch of the NGE Editors Trust Fund, was carefully planned to interrogate the state of nation’s economy and the missing gaps, with a theme “Stimulating Economic Growth, Technological Advancement: Role of the Media.”
“The conference will also examine the Nigerian media sustainability and the existential threat by the Big Tech, and what we need to do to arrest it. The goal of the conference is to remind editors and media executives that economic actors need accurate, credible and timely information to allocate resources judiciously. That foreign/local investors and other groups in the economic ecosystem, demand a governance-monitoring role from the media.
“Masters of economy, Tech experts and technocrats from both within and outside country: African Development Bank, World Trade Organisation, Central Bank of Nigeria, academics and other sectors have been invited to examine the burning issues – including the role of the editors in shaping the narrative and stemming the challenges’’, the statement added.
Giving a background to the conference, the Guild explained that the media have a role to play in fixing the economic challenges in Nigeria, adding that chief executive officers from both public and private sectors, believe the media can provide information and monitoring role to the economic policy development process that would lead to more effective economic policies and programmes.
“There is ongoing conversation among economic experts, which suggests that unlike in the past, high oil prices have failed to enhance the performance of our economy since 2021. Rather, what we have consistently witnessed is a macroeconomic stability that has been weakened’’ – in the midst of declining oil production.
“There is also a concern over a costly petrol subsidy that was consuming a large share of the nation’s gross oil revenues until it was removed recently by the Federal Government; exchange rate racketeering and distortions; monetization of the fiscal deficit, and high inflation – hitting about 27.08%.
“The fast worsening economic environment is leaving millions of Nigerians in poverty. Many experts and global institutions have argued that with our nation’s population growth continuing to outpace poverty reduction, the number of Nigerians living below the national poverty line will move up by 15 million before 2025’’, it noted.
The Guild explained further that while some people might argue that Nigeria has made some progress in socio-economic terms in recent years, the country was recently ranked very low in the global human capital development.
“Our country continues to face huge development challenges, including the need to reduce the dependence on oil for exports and revenues, diversify its foreign exchange sources, close the infrastructure gap, build strong and effective institutions, as well as address governance issues and strengthen public financial management systems.
“The conference is also expected to examine the impact of illegal oil refinery, bunkering and oil theft, which has continued to threaten the survival of the nation’s economy, and a major threat to Nigeria in meeting its revenue.’’
The Guild added that the gathering will also afford the participants the huge opportunity to discuss issues affecting journalism profession and proffer solutions that will enhance its robust practice in the country.