Nigeria Restates Commitment To Reducing Dependence On Oil

Udoma-UdomaThe Federal Government of Nigeria has reaffirmed its commitment to diversifying the nation’s economy to reduce its dependence on oil.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, made the declaration on Wednesday at the end of the National Economic Summit Group (NESG).

He said the proposed shift from oil resources would help create jobs, reduce poverty and contribute to the nation’s socio economic development.

At the moment, the nation’s economy is in recession.

Mr Udoma explained that the government would achieve this through a synergy with members of the organised private sector.

He added that the government was eager towards diverting from its over dependence on petroleum resources to other sectors of the economy.

As the NESG meeting comes to an end, experts have been deliberating on how to improve the Nigerian economy through the patronage of locally produced goods.

Nigerian-Economic-Summit-Group

One of the participants, Lanre Akinbo, is hopeful that key recommendations identified at the gathering will serve as a starting point for the successful implementation of the Made in Nigeria campaign.

The 22nd edition of the NESG meeting opened on Monday in Abuja, with participants looking to come up with strategies that would spur economic growth through heightened patronage of made in Nigeria goods and services.

The theme for this year’s summit is ‘Made In Nigeria’ and the organisers of the summit say they are looking to re-emphasise the message that the productive capacity of the Nigerian economy has to be developed as much as possible.

Need For Diversification

In his opening address, President Muhammadu Buhari said Nigeria had no other choice at the moment than to diversify its economy to break its reliance on oil.

Buhari, NESG, Economy
President Buhari stresses need for diversification

He was happy with the theme of the summit, saying it “lies at the heart of so many of the efforts we are making to lead us through these troubled times and to lay a firm foundation for the future”.

The President stressed the need to diversify the economy, stating that it was to ensure Nigeria never have to rely on a commodity to survive as a country.

He added that there was apparently no other way to steer Nigeria out of its present economic predicament without building a strong economic foundation on Made-in-Nigeria goods and services.

On the sidelines of the summit, the Vice Chairman of the NESG, Sola David-Borha, told Channels Television that stakeholders would discuss issues affecting Nigeria’s economy and proffer solutions that will reflate the economy and subsequently bring growth.

Mrs David-Borha, who is also the CEO of Stanbic IBTC Holdings, said the group believes that patronising made in Nigeria goods and services will spur the growth of the economy that is already in recession.

President Buhari Says He Is Committed To Diversification Of The Economy

Buhari, NESG, Economy
President Buhari says buying Made-in-Nigeria products and services will help stimulate economic growth

President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigeria has no other choice at the moment than to diversify its economy to break its reliance on oil.

The president made the statement while declaring open the 22nd Nigeria Economic Summit in Abuja.

“I am so delighted that you have chosen as your theme Made-in-Nigeria, which lies at the heart of so many of the efforts we are making to lead us through these troubled times and to lay a firm foundation for the future.

“We need to diversify the economy so that we never again have to rely on one commodity to survive as a country, so that we can produce the food we eat, make our own textiles, produce most of the things we use and create the right environment for our young people to be able to innovate and create jobs through technology,” he said.

The President added that there was apparently no other way to steer Nigeria out of its present economic predicament without building a strong economic foundation on Made-in-Nigeria goods and services.

Holistic development

In an earlier speech delivered by Doyin Salami, a professor of economics and member of the Monetary Policy Committee, he said Nigeria needed to quickly work out a comprehensive development plan.

Professor Salami in his analysis of Nigeria’s present economic landscape in the local and international context, warns that the numbers are not in the country’s favour.

Dr. Salami says though the outlook may look bleak, there is hope for Nigeria
Dr. Salami says though the outlook may look bleak, there is hope for Nigeria

In the international market, he said: “International monetary policy, in particular, doesn’t look good for us. The dollar is strengthening and the likelihood over the next 18 months in particular is that the dollar will continue to be strong.

“That’s bad news for us by the way, because it also means a lower demand for crude oil”.

Professor Salami, however, accused the Buhari government of not effectively communicating some of its policies which in turn affects investor’s confidence.

He said Nigeria in the short term must boost the confidence of investors, articulate its development plan, with complementary monetary and fiscal policies and institutionalise a public procurement drive for Made-In-Nigeria goods.

Ministers Have No Business Meeting With Contractors – Oby Ezekwesili

Former World Bank Vice President for Africa, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, has advised the presidency to hands off public procurement in its bid to take a firm stand on the fight against corruption.

The former Minister made this suggestion at an interactive session on public procurement reforms in the House of Representatives with the focus on mitigating challenges against public procurement reforms in Nigeria.

According to her, it is only Nigerian Ministers, in comparison with their peers across the world, who meet with contractors to discuss contracts.

Dr Ezekwesili, a former Minister of Education and also former head of the country’s Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit suggested some issues which she believes need some changes.

Admitting that corruption is a scourge on Nigeria, she however stated that the country can tackle it.

She said the country must make the treasury provide basic services for the people, tools  they need to overcome poverty.

The former Minister ended her presentation by challenging the lawmakers to proactively ensure that those who flout the rules of procurement in the country are prosecuted.

This according to her is power they (the lawmakers) have and have not been utilizing.

Meanwhile the chairman of the House committee on Public Procurement, Representative Olajumoke Okoya Thomas, said solution and remedies are what is needed.

Jonathan lacks political will to set up procurement council – Reps

The Attorney General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoki on Wednesday failed to appear before the House of Representative committee on public procurement that is conducting a hearing on amending the public procurement act.

Mr Adoki’s absence got the members of the committee who questioned the executive’s commitment to implementing the provisions of the public procurement act 2007, furious.

The Minister had also failed to honour several other invitations by the committee.

A member of the committee, Patrick Ihariale (PDP, Edo) said, the failure of Mr Adoke to appear before the House “is evidence of bad character”, adding that it was “deliberate, calculated and very conscious”.

The committee refused to listen to the Solicitor General of the Federation, Abdullahi Ahmed Yola who said he had the mandate of the Attorney General to speak before the committee.

The House of Representative had mandated the committee to invite the Attorney General to explain the reasons why the government had failed to constitute the National Council on Public Procurement in accordance with the Public Procurement Act.

The chairperson of the committee, Jumoke Okoya-Thomas, said that the absence of the minister indicates the lack of “political will on the side of the executive” on curbing the corruptions associated with the process of public procurement.

She said that Mr. Adoki was informed of the hearing 21 days earlier and that during this period, “the Senate came up with their own resolution” concerning the issue of public procurement.

The Senate had passed a bill requesting the President to constitute the National council on procurement.

“What you (Mr Adoki) are doing now is not respecting the resolutions of the National Assembly as a whole,” the lawmaker said.

Ms Okoya-Thomas said that the Minister’s action is “totally unacceptable” and that the committee will next Thursday present its report that the executive arm of government lack the political will to fight corruption in the processes of public procurement to the House of Representative.