An economist, Prof. Akpan Ekpo, has advised the Federal Government to exploit the Ukraine-Russia conflict and become a major producer and exporter of wheat.
Ekpo, a former Director General of the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM), gave the advice on Monday in Lagos.
He said the conflict would disrupt the supply of wheat in the global market, and wheat was a major raw material for the production of flour used for bread.
“The price of bread and items with wheat will increase because Ukraine and/Russia are major producers of wheat. We still import wheat.
“Nigeria should increase wheat production to meet the domestic requirements thus cushioning the expected price increase, but in the long-run produce enough wheat for export.
“Hence we can exploit the conflict and become a major exporter of wheat,” he said.
He anticipates the conflict will have financial and economic effects on many countries including Nigeria.
According to him, the exclusion of Russian banks from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) would affect several Nigerian businesses with trading relationships with Russia.
He urged Nigerian businessmen to figure out other means of carrying out their financial transactions as they would no longer utilise Russian banks.
Besides, he said the conflict would reduce the supply of oil in the global market; hence oil prices would increase bringing more revenue to Nigeria.
He urged the government to save the extra oil revenue and/or invest it in infrastructure and reduce borrowing.
Also, Prof. Ndubisi Nwokoma, Director, Centre for Economic Policy Analysis and Research (CEPAR) University of Lagos, projected that Nigeria might benefit from increased oil prices due to the Russian-Ukraine conflict.
He, however, said the increased cost of imports from Europe and other partners might diminish the benefits.
“First, energy prices will skyrocket globally, particularly gas prices in Europe which depend largely on Russia for gas.
“Secondly, the global payment system could significantly move away from the dollar as reserve or trade invoice currency given the possible gang up of Russia and China in this regard.
“Also, there could be a realignment of trading partners if the conflict persists as China, Russia, Europe may be guaranteed of their supplies from traditional sources,” Nwokoma said.
He, therefore, said the conflict was quite deep seated and if not well handled would have significant impact on the global economy.