If 2017 ushers in genuine change, the recession of 2016 would have been worth it

Disruption is a popular word in the world of business. Both consumers and investors tend to reward disruptive innovators. From Apple to Uber, corporates – and, one could argue, their customers – have benefited hugely from disruptive changes. But when it comes to the world at large, disruptions are seldom viewed in such a positive light; accompanied, as they so often are, by physical and economic turmoil and human misery.

The disruptive change unleashed by the Islamic State has led to the greatest human migration in modern history, with millions of refugees stranded in alien lands. As if that was not enough, Brexit has unleashed fresh turmoil in the Euro zone, with the very idea of a unified Europe with a single market and a single currency under threat. Across the Atlantic, the election of that arch disruptor, Donald Trump, as the next President of the world’s largest economy and the world’s sole remaining superpower, has unleashed consternation, not just within its borders, but the world at large.

Nigeria, too, has seen more than its fair share of disruption as this, 2016 tumultuous year curtain was closed. Economic growth has slowed, exports, especially oil and gas are in the doldrums, debt laden corporates have ceased investing, and the banking system is struggling under an ever-growing mountain of unserviceable debt. The final touch came from weak Naira and the devaluation, so to speak, of the Naira. The unexpected withdrawal of public funds from commercial banks in the name of TSA which sucked out a bulk of the cash from the economy overnight, has disrupted the life of every Nigerian, rich or poor, powerful or disenfranchised.

President Muhammadu Buhari (From the president’s body language and the budget, it seems Buhari Means Business!) while presenting the N7.2billion budget to the National Assembly and in his new year speech has assured the nation that this pain will be worth it. He has promised to step up his war on corruption and cut wastage in public governance, a war in which victory will lead to a transformation of the nation into a modern, digitally empowered economy, where transparency and rule of law will reign supreme. So far, the nation has stood with him, as well as patiently in queues waiting for the diversification of the economy from oil to other sectors, including agriculture, and make the nation’s manufacturing sector thrive again.

This patience and sacrifice deserves its reward. The Federal Government needs to set aside the shoddy execution of the infrastructure drive and remain focused on ensuring that the desired outcomes are delivered. The roll out of social intervention fund in the coming year – if the political class can set aside its mutual antipathies for the nonce and focus on national goals instead – can set the stage for this change. Only then can we hope for a true change 2017.

To other milestones in 2016. CED Forum Award celebrated its 20th edition in 2016 and the platform which remains the most celebrated event in the built environment did not dissappoint, as usual.
The vent which held at the prestigious Sheraton Hotels, Ikeja Lagos saw the presentation of awards to deserving corporate bodies and individuals who have made tremendous contributions to the growth, not only of the sector but the entire nation’s economy and capacity building at large. One of the high point of the event was the presentation of lecture by Dr. Engr. Isa Emoabino, FNSE, Chairman, Nigerians Institution of Highway Engineers, a division of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, whose paper on the topic: Concrete Roads Acceptability and Durability was well deliberated on by expert from the sector. Engr. Otis Anyaeji, FNSE, President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers who was the chairman of the occasion led the led the discussion with contributions from the diverse participants and the audience.

For CED Magazine, in 2017, which will also witness the staging of the Construction Industry Hall of Fame 4th Edition, we are poised to continue to chat the growth part for the economy, especially the construction, engineering and oil and gas sector by reporting development, innovation and happenings in the sector globally. We, along with our partners will look beyond the recession of 2016 and rework some of our key deliverables that will add value to organisations and the economy.


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