Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has assured the business community of Federal Government’s unrelenting efforts to restore the country to a path of economic growth.
He said on Friday in Lagos that the target was to make the growth rate higher than population growth rate.
Osinbajo gave the assurance at the 2021 Presidential Policy Dialogue organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and explained that the efforts would drive inclusive economic prosperity.
The vice-president said part of government’s plan was the creation of the National Medium Term Development Plan, the Economic Sustainability Plan and similar others to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He added that plans were underway to help the Nigerian economy to adapt to climate change and match the disruptions of digital economy and the fourth industrial revolution.
Osinbajo noted, however, that the appropriate regulatory environment was critical and urged for private and public sector partnerships to formulate and implement policies to drive economic growth.
“Nigeria needs to adopt value addition practices in order to create wealth that will accelerate economic recovery post-COVID-19.
“The medium-term development plan when implemented in full; the strategic orientation of becoming a value added economy will help to create a number of good paying jobs.
“Our aim is to focus on the development of the local industry beyond crude oil with focus on technology so that we can create wealth value chains.
“The success of the plan is greatly dependent on the partnership between the public and private sectors, especially as huge investment inflow is required.
“It is important for the Nigerian youth to get necessary skills and key into the Nigeria Jubilee Fellowship Programme which seeks to engage 20,000 youths yearly over a five-year period,’’ he said.
Speaking at the function, Lagos State Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mr Sam Egube, lauded LCCI for its consistency in promoting harmonious relationship between government and the private sector.
He noted that of particular interest was in the area of ease of doing business.
Egube spoke as representative of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State.
He stressed the need to engage collectively to position Nigeria to transform its resources and huge potentialities into results.
Egube said Nigeria must raise commitment levels and harness potentials offered by the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to defragment Africa for global competitiveness.
“COVID-19 transformed business models and processes and we are faced with necessities to come up with ingenious strategies to ensure the wheels of commerce keeps moving.
“Africa remains at the lower rungs of the ladder in spite of its abundant natural resources and potentials for growth and development, but the AfCFTA would position the continent as a global competitor.
“We understand the importance of formulating policies to drive the business community and we are always ready to engage with it at all times,’’ the commissioner said.
He reiterated the state government’s strategic direction to harness public and private sector growth to create jobs, expand social services and provide then atmosphere conducive to business.
In her remarks, Mrs Toki Mabogunje, President, LCCI, said the short-term outlook of key economic indicators looked fragile but bright.
She expressed the hope that recent policy interventions and economic reforms would drive the economy to turn the corner soon.
Mabogunje noted that in spite of several economic disruptions such as insecurity, liquidity crisis, amongst others, the Nigerian economy had some strong fundamentals.
“Our natural resources endowments are vast; the sustained rising price of crude oil, the domestic market is large, and our people are resourceful and enterprising.
“What is much needed are the enablers as times like these offer tremendous opportunities for innovation, creativity, export growth, and import substitution.
“These are the silver linings even as we expect to see the economy navigate an upward curve in its recovery journey,’’ she said.
The LCCI president charged government to focus on building a thriving and sustainable economy, enhance social inclusion and reduce poverty.
She also challenged government to enlarge agricultural output for food security and attain energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products.
Mabogunje also called for the expansion of transport and other infrastructural development, business growth, entrepreneurship and industrialisation, access to quality education, affordable healthcare and productivity.
“I would like to underscore the need for regular engagements and communication on policy issues to ensure quality feedback and enrich the policy-making process.
“This should cover macroeconomic and sectorial policies such as foreign exchange, trade, tax, energy, transportation, industrial, agricultural and ICT policy, among others.
“Regular engagement with relevant stakeholders in the various sectors will bring a great deal of value to the economic management process,’’ she stressed.
In his submission, Otunba Abimbola Ogunbanjo, Group Chairman, Nigeria Exchange Group, said promoting the right policies to advance the private sector, technological advancement and capacity building were critical to driving private sector development.
Ogunbanjo said this was important to assist the country’s recovery from COVID-19 in spite of the resilience it has shown with its exit from recession and current economic growth.
“As custodians of growth in the economy, we must recognise and promote right policies and outcomes that encourage and empower the sector in industry promotion and access to finance.
“The Nigeria Exchange Group recognises the importance of policies in shaping industries and we are keen on facilitating policies that can bring change for investment.
“We are actively involved to ensure an enabling environment for listings.
“Increasing attention must be paid to leverage technology which would be the driver of advancement for decades to come in areas of commerce, telemedicine, financial services and more.
“We must intensify efforts at capacity building
“The responsibilities fall on private and public institutions to provide the right education and training to develop and equip Nigerians with tools to evolve with the times for maximum delivery,’’ he said.