By Chijioke Okoronkwo
President Muhammadu Buhari says the Federal Government is responding to the challenges and opportunities of the moment by articulating forward-looking policies and strategies to achieve national goals.
Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, communicated this in a statement on Monday in Abuja.
The statement said the president, represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, delivered a virtual address at the opening of the 27th Nigerian Economic Summit.
The theme of the summit is, “Securing our Future: The Fierce Urgency of Now.’’
Buhari said said in order to tackle existing problems and at the same time benefit from domestic and global trends, stakeholders both in the public and private sectors must take timely actions and immediate steps.
Buhari emphasised on the imperative of the theme of the summit, saying the theme is compelling as it stresses the importance of taking timely action to tackle existing problems while at the same time, taking immediate steps to cope with or benefit from domestic and global trends.
According to him, growth figures are meaningless if they do not translate into good-paying jobs and improved standard of living for our people.
“The question, of course, I insist, that must be answered regarding all our policies, is what do they mean for the creation of wealth and human capacity development?
“The new plan incorporates aspects of the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy which was articulated as a guide towards achieving our poverty reduction target.
“The starting point for the implementation of the Strategy is the realisation that increased employment is an indispensable tool for reducing poverty.
“The Federal Government is responding to the challenges and opportunities of the moment by articulating forward-looking policies and strategies and implementing a coherent, clear and consistent set of actions in order to achieve our desired objectives.’’
The president said that the broad objectives of the new medium-term National Development Plan are to diversify the economy, invest in critical infrastructure, build human capital and improve governance and security.
He said that the intention was to achieve broad-based and inclusive GDP growth in order to create 21 million jobs and lift 35 million people out of poverty by 2025.
“This ambitious but realisable target is consistent with government’s vision of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in a decade.
“The shock caused by the pandemic which is still very much with us was that Nigeria as a developing economy is striving to become a digital economy so that we can leapfrog into the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
“As if this is not challenging enough, we are also required as a good member of the international community to take steps to mitigate and to adapt to climate change.
“This is not a simple matter if we bear in mind that we are reliant on oil and gas for revenues and export earnings and yet reduction of the use of fossil fuels is the frontline strategy needed for achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.”
President Buhari listed some of the interventions by government which he said are yet to manifest.
He said, however, that there are still much more work to be done, especially in the context of our stated priorities to reduce poverty and unemployment.
Buhari said that the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), adopted in response to the economic crisis caused by the pandemic, was centered on tackling and reducing the COVID-19 caseload, restoring growth, protecting and creating jobs, rescuing businesses, and reducing social vulnerabilities.
“These were in addition to the priority actions that were already being taken in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan to invest in social and human capital, build power, road and rail infrastructure and improve the business environment,’’ he said.
He listed achievements in MSMEs space through the Survival Fund, adding that support is being given to exporters through the Export Expansion Facility Programme.
Buhari also listed the labour intensive interventions in agriculture, housing and solar power installations which are still ongoing.
On her part, the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, commended the partnership with the Nigerian Economic Summit Group over the years.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, Mr Asue Ighodalo, urged all stakeholders to support the Federal Government in securing the future of Nigeria. (NAN)