The Honourable Minister of Finance Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed has underscored the significance of a competitive private sector-led economy, saying that it will ensure economic prosperity for all Nigerians.
The Minister made this assertion on Monday, 16 September 2019 in Abuja at the Media Briefing for the forthcoming 25th Nigeria Economic Summit NES#25 slated for 7th -8th October 2019 in Abuja.
Explaining on the choice of this year’s summit theme tagged “Nigeria 2050: Shifting Gears”, Mrs. Ahmed said that “shifting Gears emphasizes the imperatives for the country to move to a more robust competitive private sector economy while discussing the implication of the projected population of the country hitting over 400 million by 2050 with 65% of the population under the age of 35”.
She maintained that this year’s Summit would be setting a new agenda for Nigeria to key into the 4th Industrial Revolution, saying the Summit’s Sub-themes will focus on achieving rapid industrialization, transforming education and managing demography. “The Summit will also have an on-site simulation of “Life as an Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)” which will recreate the living conditions of IDPs in the camp”, the Minister added.
According to the Minister, the Summit has become a veritable platform for dialogue between the leaders of public and private sectors that will also provide opportunity for interaction, sharing thoughts and building consensus on issues relating to the Nigeria economy.
Enumerating some of the outcomes of the previous Summit, Mrs. Ahmed revealed that recommendation from the Summit paved way for government at the National level to establish the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) and the Executive Orders focusing on Ease of Doing Business aimed at addressing constraints to businesses.
“The implementation of these policies enabled Nigerians to move from 24 places to 146th from 169th position on the ease of doing business ranking of the World Bank. Government is also working on operational, regulatory and legislative interventions to enable the country move to the top 100 on ease of doing business ranking” she added.
The Minister further stated that government has established a Competitiveness Advisory Council and Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in the 6 geo-political zones, as vehicles for partnering with the private sector which is in line with modern trend of providing infrastructure to business clusters to improve and boost economic activities in such zones as found in China and other fast-growing economies.
She explained that government is working towards launching a broad range of sector-specific activities to attract investment and drive growth through improving regulatory efficiency, adding that the Solid Mineral Development Fund (SMOF) is being refocused to de-risk value chains in the mining sector as well as diversify national income streams.
Earlier, Mr. Asue Ighodalo, Chairman of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group NESG said that Nigeria’s projected demographic growth will lead to worsening economic and human development conditions unless we continue at a greater pace to focus on diversifying, deepening and growing our economy at a rate exponentially superior to our population growth.
He also said that only a competitive private sector-led economy can achieve a rising standard of living and economic prosperity for more than 400 million Nigerians, which is the projected population by the year 2050.
Director, Information MBNP
September 16th, 2019.