10 October 2016
The 22nd National Economic Summit opened in Abuja on Monday with President Muhammadu Buhari saying government was doing all that was possible to improve on the country’s ranking on the global ease-of-doing-business index.
He told the ceremony that government was also making efforts to make made-in-Nigeria products competitive to encourage local consumption and export of the country’s products and services.
He challenged the summit to produce recommendations that were implementable and could move Nigeria from import-dependence to a country exporting goods and services.
Stakeholders at the ceremony, however, challenged the Federal Government to do more to turn the nation’s economy around and positively too.
In a keynote presentation, Dr. Adedoyin Salami, Chairman of the National Economic Summit Group Board’s Committee on Research and Publication said government needed to improve on its communication strategy to enable the critical private sector to understand and identify with its economic policy.
The theme of this year’s summit is Made-in-Nigeria. It is aimed at attracting attention and promoting production and consumption of made-in-Nigeria products and services.
Dr. Salami said it was imperative that Nigeria’s economy must be “productive and globally competitive’’, noting that the current economic conditions in the country were far from ideal.
He expressed regret that Nigeria’s economic growth rate began to slow down in 2013 and was now shrinking so much so that “it actually shrank by 1.5 per cent if you combine statistics for the first and second quarter of the year.’’
Salami also observed that it was unfortunate that out of Nigeria’s 46 economic sectors, only four sectors were active and accounted for 70 per cent of economic activities.
He commended the Federal Government for improvements in the fight against terrorism, energy supply, its anti-corruption war, and fiscal discipline, noting, however, that many things that government had left undone impacted more on the well-being of Nigerians.
Salami said to impact positively on the economy and for the benefit of Nigerians, fiscal and monetary policies must complement each other, while the production and consumption of made-in-Nigeria goods and services must be an imperative.
Earlier, Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, also challenged the private sector “to fire from all cylinders’’ of production knowing full well that returns on investments made in Nigeria would always been worthwhile.
He explained that it was in order to encourage economic activities that government was targeting capital releases to employment-generating sectors.
He assured that the agriculture sector would show strong growth in the just-ended third quarter, for instance, as government’s school feeding programme was using only locally-produced goods and services.
The minister enjoined the summit to ensure that the outcome of each of the sessions produced “practical and clear roadmap with timelines’’ to the actualisation of its recommendations.
In his submissions, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo said government was also focusing on increased production and processing of rice in four major rice-producing states, while also looking at increased large-scale processing of shea butter because of its numerous applications.
The vice-president said the Nigerian government was also establishing industrial hubs in the six geo-political zones to put more Nigerians to work.
He said also that 65,000 youths were being trained in tech-related disciplines to encourage them to contribute to economic development.
Some concerned private sector leaders representing key economic sectors conceived the Nigerian Economic Summit (NES) in 1993 and sustained it as a platform for bringing together private sector leaders and senior public sector officials to discuss and dialogue on the future of the Nigerian Economy.
In 1996, stakeholders incorporated the National Economic Summit Group as a non profit, non partisan private sector organisation with a mandate to promote and champion the reform of the Nigerian economy into an open, private sector-led globally competitive economy.
Over the years, it has emerged as the most important platform for public-private dialogue in Nigeria.
The flagship of the group’s advocacy efforts has been the annual Nigerian Economic Summit (NES), which provides government and private sector an opportunity to review the progress made in the country’s economic reform effort and agree on practical ways to manage issues which may have constrained effective policy implementation