Nigeria (Blank NEWS Online) –By Albert OGRAKA-
Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has expressed faith in the determination of the President Muhammadu Buhari led Federal government to ensure a turn-around through commitment and dedication to entrenching sustainable economy for the nation, despite recent economic downturns.
The Vice President who stated this on Friday, August 26, at the ongoing Delta State Economic and Investment Summit to mark the silver jubilee of Delta state in Asaba, disclosed that the commitment is dependent on the policy trust of the Federal Government to reposition Nigeria.
Prof. Osinbajo however lauded Delta state government’s Private, Public Partnership (PPP) initiative in driving the state’s economy, as he explained that prosperity is often time sought through the effective collaboration with the private sector who are in turn expected to contribute to the states and national development.
“There is no way we can create prosperity without the private sector because, the public sector does not have the resources to ensure speedy development.
“As a government, we have no choice but to create the environment for the private sector to thrive; I think the private sector must be a responsible partner, paying taxes and contribute to all manners of social activities that makes the society truly great.”
While congratulating the government and people of Delta State for celebrating 25 years of the state’s creation, the Vice President observed that the greatest challenge facing governments at all levels in the country was having leaders who will have the courage and ability to stick to laid down plans.
“We are confronted today in our country with the challenge of leadership, we must take time to reflect on the type of leadership we have because, governments in Nigeria have never been short of good ideas and good plans, but the challenge is sticking to the plan and getting desired results.
“Time has come to get results, public officers must be held to account for their performances; time and resources are saved when qualified people are hired.”
Prof. Osibanjo lauded Governor Okowa’s administration for organizing the economic and investment summit, appealing for those who are in positions of authority to “build the trust of the people and we must build that trust if we are trustworthy ourselves.”
He urged the state to intensity efforts at ensuring sustained, peaceful engagement with agitators in the Niger Delta region to engender peace that would attract meaningful investment development and revive the dwindling nation’s economy.
He however lamented that since political leaders have made the electorates to believe that many in government always tell lies; vandalism, kidnapping, armed robbery and other vices, have become the order of the day.
According to him, this distrust has now caused the country over 60 per cent drop in oil and gas production, and inadvertently, knocked down the private sector, which he referred to as “the engine-room” of any developing or developed nation.
While noting that for the economy of Nigeria, and indeed, any nation to grow, the crave for quota system in every employment generation and appointments must stop to give way to merit.
Osibanjo maintained that although the Federal, state and local governments have laudable ideas to move the nation forward, the technical-know-how to execute has been lacking.
“Nigeria needs very strong institution who know what to do and how to deliver. Sometimes we start but we don’t finish. Security is very important to ensure investors of adequate security’’.
“Unfortunately, Nigeria is currently being faced with the greatest economic challenge in the history, such that people no longer believe their leaders anymore after many years of betrayal of trust.”
He said for Nigeria to leapfrog from its present economic woes, “merit must take per-eminence over quota.”
Earlier in his opening address, Delta state Governor Ifeanyi Okowa hinted that in a bid to create an enabling environment for investors, the state government has established the Peace Building Advisory Committee to engage the youths in productive deals and also help curb restiveness, criminality and among youths.
“Our partnership with the private sector is of utmost priority with us and we are pursuing it with relentless vigour, adopting robust and flexible private public partnership models that guarantees a win-win for all.
‘Beyond the pomp and pageantry of the silver jubilee celebration, it is also an occasion for the sober reflection; a time to pause, think deep and chart a new growth trajectory for the future of our great state. The need for foresight, careful planning, innovation and creativity has never been as it is today.”
Governor Okowa disclosed that the summit was necessary because, “with the ever growing complexity, disruption and global competition of the 21st century, it is incumbent on us to build a strong, robust and resilient economy that is adaptable to the physical, social and technological changes that are a growing part of the age we live in; we must rise to the challenge now, or we lose out,” assuring that his administration was committed to repositioning Delta State as preferred investors’ destination.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Summit, Mr Jim Ovia, Chairman, Zenith Bank Plc, said, “Delta State is a land of infinite possibilities, we should start thinking outside the box, we should think about alternative to oil.”
In his keynote address, the President, African Heritage Institution and former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof. Chukwuma Soludo urged the present administration to wake up from its slumber after a year and three months down the lane.
He maintained that the current economic recession in Nigeria was “self-inflicted and avoidable” and urged the Federal Government to “unchain and unbundle” the economy by allowing for resource control, if the present downturn must become a thing of the past.
“At this stage, Nigeria needs a political and economic revamping to enjoy peace. Regions should control their resources but pay the necessary taxes to the Federal Government. You own the land, following the Land Use Act, that gives you the comparative advantage to control what you have, but you pay your dues in form of tax.”
He explained that unless the current bottlenecks surrounding the exchange rate were removed, the problems bedeviling Nigeria economy would remain and efforts at overcoming them would be a ruse.
“Now exchange rate has over-shoot, and this is self-inflicted. Remove the bills, the whole problems would disappear. But as long as the bureaucracies are still there, the economy will continue to hemorrhage. It is wrong as the situation is today, it will remain wrong tomorrow and will remain wrong forever.”
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, appealed to technocrats like the Zenith Bank’s Prof. Jim Ovia, the United Bank of Nigeria’s Chief Tony Elumelu, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Godwin Emiefele, who hail from Delta state and were present at the summit to help drive the growth and development of the state and Nigeria at large.
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Nigeria (Blank NEWS Online) –
E.I.C: Albert Eruorhe Ograka