President Muhammadu Buhari has urged those shaping the nation’s economy to come up with innovative, productive and made-in-Nigeria ideas to grow the economy.
Speaking at the 25th editions of Nigerian Economic Summit (NES25) in Abuja, with the theme as “Nigeria at 2050 Shifting Gears” President Buhari said his administration will collaborate with the private sector in designing and implementing developmental projects that will keep Nigeria on track for sustained, inclusive and prosperity driven growth.
”In your deliberations, I would request that your proposals are productive, inventive and innovative keeping in mind that Nigeria’s unique challenges can only be solved by made in Nigeria solutions,” he urged the meeting.
The President who was attending the NES for the first time said he was happy that the summit “has identified key job-creating sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, ICT, creative industry and extractive industry as focus sectors. I am also told that your deliberations will focus on unlocking capital through our financial services sector to actualize the opportunities in these sectors”.
He said his government will “equip our citizens with the means to seize any opportunities that may arise. This means we continue investments in education, health care, infrastructure, security and strengthen and entrench the rule of law.”
He added: “We have put before the country policies that focus on delivering prosperity to all Nigerians through; enhancing security; eliminating corrupt practices in public service; supporting sectors that will create jobs, and promoting socially-focused interventions to support the poorest and most vulnerable among us.
”Wealth in its simplistic form, is money or other assets. In recent years, global events have shown that when a society and its leaders are driven and motivated by these alone, the ultimate outcome is a divided state of severe inequalities. But a prosperous society is one where majority of its citizens have an acceptable standard of living and a decent quality of life.”
Buharisaid Nigeria “is a country with close to 200 million people living in 36 states and the FCT. A significant proportion of Nigeria’s prosperity today is concentrated in the hands of a few people living primarily in four or five states and the FCT. Some of the most prosperous Nigerians are here in this room. This leaves the remaining 31 States with close to 150 million people in a state of expectancy and hope for better opportunity to thrive. This, in the most basic form, drives the migratory and security trends we are seeing today both in Nigeria and across the region.”
In her opening remarks, Minister of finance, Budget and National Planning Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, described NES as a perfect platform for collaboration between the private and public sectors to evolve ways of tacking challenges facing the economy.
The Minister noted that it has become “imperatives for the country to move to a more robust competitive private sector economy with focus on the implications of the projected population of the country hitting over 400 million, making Nigeria the third most populous country in the world by 2050.”
According to her, “the structure of this population shows that majority will be under the age of 35, representing a large percentage of Africa’s young working-age population. The opportunities are endless, as are the risks, however, if we do not accelerate our efforts towards sustainable and inclusive growth, and improved human capital”
She argued that “there is an urgent need to design policies that will not only address the rising population but ensure paradigm shift to a competitive private sector led economic growth and development. The agenda for this summit is therefore, to provide strategic and innovative ways of getting the maximum benefits from the expected demographic dividends”.
In his welcome address, chairman, Nigerian Economic Summit Group ( NESG) Mr. Asue A. Ighodalo, described NES 25th anniversary as a pivotal time to review the history of the summit and lauded past Presidents of Nigeria for their contributions .
According to him, “NESG has kept faith over the years with its role as a communication conduit between government and business. Through this platform, we have led dialogues that have resulted in a shift of our economy from state control to free enterprise.
We have started to see the potential of an increasingly dynamic private sector to transform and impact lives. You may recall that it was at NES #1 that we advocated the abrogation of the Foreign Exchange Decree and the Indigenization Decree, opening the door to foreign direct investment flows into the country with huge impacts on job and wealth creation.”
The 6th and the 7th Summits stressed the need for the liberalisation of the telecommunications sector, which led to the GSM revolution that has largely democratised information and communication technology in the country “, he said.