NES # 25 : ZAINAB CALLS FOR URGENT POLICIES TO ADDRESS RISING POPULATION, SHIFT TO COMPETITIVE PRIVATE SECTOR LED ECONOMY

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed has called for urgent need to design effective policies that will help the country address issues of the rising population while ensuring paradigm shift to competitive private sector-led economic growth and development.

Mrs. Zainab Ahmed made this call on Monday in Abuja at the 25thNigerian Economic Summit (NES #25TH) with the theme ’’ Nigeria at 2050: Shifting Gears’’.

The Minister said ‘’ Shifting Gears emphasizes the imperatives for the country to move to a robust competitive private sector economy with a focus on the implications of the projected population of the country hitting over 400 million, making Nigeria the third most populous country in the world by 2050. 

The structure of this population shows that the majority will be under 35, representing a large percentage of Africa’s young working-age population. The opportunities are endless, as are the risks, however, if we do not accelerate our efforts towards sustainable and inclusive growth, and improved human capital’’.

She stated that she foresee a future where the country’s young and vibrant population is well educated particularly in the Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics education (STEAM)- creating a workforce with the skills that will position the country’s youth to be gainfully employed, as well as include high value digital jobs that will not only tap in to but also drive the limitless global digital economy.

 She added that, her list of aspirations for the country includes a future where the majority of Nigerians have been sustainably lifted out of poverty; have access to fundamental services including education, health care; Water supply and sanitation and also a future where all are financially included, with affordable access to financial products and services with no one left behind.

The Minister said, ‘’ this future we crave for will not be created by luck, neither will it be created by the Federal Government nor by State Governments alone. It will require collective action by all stakeholders including citizens and the private sector. As we all know the private has a crucial role to play. This future will require comprehensive targeted reforms, tough decisions, a radical shift in the current culture. Including attitudes towards taxes and public finance. Just as the saying goes ‘ no pain no gain’- I must say, the journey will be a painstakingly tough and will require sacrifices on all sides- including government, the private sector, and other stakeholders’’.

According to the Minister, the outputs of the summit will be critical as we work towards creating the Nigeria we deserve, and also will aid the government in developing and implementing the next generation of National Plans, and towards implementing policies and programmes.

She said that these 25 years of collaborative engagement has helped in shaping the policies of the government and also stating that past Summit outcomes have contributed to policies on Power sector Reforms, Agriculture sector Reform and the Pension Reform among others.

The Chairman of the NESG, Mr. Asue Ighodalo in his welcome address, said that the 25th anniversary is a pivotal time to review the history of the summit, stressing that as we do so, to express profound appreciation to the founding fathers who passionately and courageously initiated the platform for

Promoting public-private dialogue, stating that by dint of their vision, they handed the business community an effective private sector-led, non- partisan, non- profit think tank.

Mr. Ighodalo said that NESG has kept faith over the years with its role as a communication conduit between government and business, stressing that through the Summit, the NESG has led dialogues that have resulted in a shift of the country’s economy from state control to free enterprise.

He said that the country has started to see the potential of an increasingly dynamic private sector to transform and impact lives.

 

Victoria Agba-Attah

Director (Information)

9th October, 2019

 

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