Home Finance AS 13th Nigerian Economic Summit ends in Abuja , what Next for Nigeria ?

AS 13th Nigerian Economic Summit ends in Abuja , what Next for Nigeria ?

by Business News Report

By Umoru Henry
ABUJA, the Federal Capital Territory , between Wednesday 5 and Friday 7 September 2007 came alive once again as it played host to over 800 men and women cut across all strata of the society. It was an auspicious opportunity for Nigerians, Economists, government functionaries, the development partners and indeed all stakeholders to converge on the prestigious Hilton Hotel to brainstorm on salient issues as they relate to Nigeria’s economic growth especially to set the tone for the country in the match towards the realisation of the 2020 set target.
As the world is fast growing in the area of economy, it was a forum for these stakeholders to assemble and discuss on the prospects and challenges of sustaining the reforms of the government and as a follow-up to the 12th summit held in Abuja from 7-9 June 2006. These men and women assembled under a common front to discuss their destinies and above all, to have the world in their hands; they were there to build on the outcome of the 12th summit that had as its theme, “Building Momentum For Economic Transformation and Growth”.
These participants were in Abuja for three days courtesy of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group{NESG} and National Planning Commission{NPC}.other official partners were PrOpCom, MTN; Shell; Zinox computers; Europcar; Promasidor; First Bank; GigiPrints; Pepsi; Union Bank; HP, among others. It was the Thirteenth Nigerian Economic Summit with the theme, “ Nigeria : Positioning For the Top 20 League”.
The set goals and Objectives of the NES#13 was to build on the successes of the Twelfth Summit and realising that Nigeria’s great potential can only be unlocked by continuing investment in education, health, and infrastructure. According to the organisers, moving forward and especially against the backdrop that Nigeria has the potential to become one of the world leading economies by 2025 which the 13th Summit sought to answer some basic questions of what can be done and what would be required to achieve the country’s vision of translating our potential into reality geared towards positioning ourselves as a leading global economy by the year 2020 beginning with the present administration of Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. Other questions are what are the short, medium and long term strategies that Nigeria can adopt to be rest assured that we were on the right economic track.

At the thirteenth Nigerian Economic Summit, speaker after speaker spoke on issues relating to how to create a favourable business climate and enabling environment for small businesses, enterprises and conglomerates to thrive aimed at facilitating the growth of the private sector of the economy. They also looked at how to ensure a sound and effective socio-political environment with functioning public institutions. It was also a summit that promoted interactions between human capital and technologies to support the development of an industrious population aimed at achieving our vision 2020 by improving ICT skills for the average Nigerian worker. Other issues raised were how to promote the development of a productive work force by deepening the nation’s health sector reforms that would lead to improving our access to health-care and provision of quality and affordable education that will compete favourably with international standards.
Chairman of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG), Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa stressed that the quest to position Nigeria among the 20 largest economies globally will only be attained when every Nigeria sees the need to be part of the initiative of achieving the set 2020 target.
For President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua if Nigeria must develop its infrastructure to meet the needs of the country, it would have to budget between six to nine billion dollars annually. He did lament that the dearth of infrastructure the country was witnessing had become the greatest impediment to the nation’s economic growth and development.
According to him, “we believe that if we conduct ourselves to the highest degree of integrity, if we subject the conduct of all government business with respect to law and order, established rules, regulations and procedures and if we insist in zero tolerance of corruption in force, we would have established the requisite environment for the accelerated growth of our economy and the speed development of our nation.
“Survey consistently identified infrastructure as the major hindrance to the attainment of high economic growth rate, infrastructure deficit has resulted in higher cost of doing business, declining rate of capacity utilization, lower quality of life for majority of our population. It has been estimated that Nigeria requires an annual infrastructure invest ranging between six and nine billion US dollars every year.
“It is clear that the resources available to government despite high oil prices are totally inadequate to cope with these infrastructure challenges. The task therefore is to put in place appropriate framework to mobilize non-government resources for the upgrading, maintenance and expansion of our physical infrastructure.
“The business community is best placed to drive this process of sourcing the needed funding for the development of the quality and quantity of our infrastructure. The business community should create the necessary linkages with the capital market local and international to attract the market investment not only for the accelerated development of our nation’s critical infrastructure but also for the development of human capital”.
Also at the event, the International Monetary Fund {IMF} Resident Representative in Nigeria, Mr. Michael Bell advised that there was the urgent need for the government to put in place serious fiscal discipline at the state and local government levels, if Nigeria must be among the top 20 world economies, there was the urgent need for the governments at the sub national level to introduce the fiscal responsibility bills in their states ,adding that failure to do would lead to what he described as ‘Oil Curse’.
At the end of the three day brainstorming exercise, the 13th NES came to a close where participants came up with a communiqué recommending among others that the size of the nation’s economy must be between US$800billion and US$900Billion by 2020 with a minimum average annual GDP growth rate of between 13%-15%.
The stakeholders also resolved that if Nigeria as a country must meet the set target of vision 2 0-20-20 and the Millennium Development Goals {MDGs], Nigeria , a developing nation must strengthen and continue to promote sub national competitiveness through continued enhancement of the benchmarking processes.
Government was also urged to sustain and expand its engagement at the sub regional, regional and global arena if there must be consolidation of Nigeria’s leadership role in Africa as well as extend her influence to the global economic community, just as it was agreed that issues of education, health and energy must be addressed in holistic manner where 100% enrolment into primary schools, implementation of the 10-year Educational plan must be achieved.
The country must also increase Nigeria’s life expectancy index from 46 years to over 70 years, improved infant mortality as well as improved maternal mortality in the area of health by 2010, adding that the nation should be able to deliver 13,500MW of power, conclude and implement the Gas policy.
Participants in the area of transport said it became imperative for the government to conclude a 100% rehabilitation of Roads at all levels, construct East-West Rail Line and opening of Inland Waterways as well as the establishment of infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, adding that the Police must be fixed, the strengthening of institutions of representative democracy and improvement of access and speed to justice.
The 13th Nigerian Economic Summit like the 12th had come and gone and the stakeholders from all strata of the society came, discussed, saw and conquered the world in their hands especially world economy. Questions that beg for answers are where do we get the estimated six and nine billion US dollars annually if our infrastructure must work, how far has the government been implementing recommendations from all the summits as we look forward to the 14th summit next year. Will the government throw the recommendations into dustbins or the summit mere jamboree or Jaw-Jaw affair? Do we expect a paradigm shift from the 12th summit in the area of implementation from the Federal government?
Will the government at the end of the summit when it studies the recommendations, make a great improvement in the area of power, road, infrastructure and provision of other social amenities to the people of Nigeria ? Or if the government fails to implement the recommendations, do we look forward to the 2020 target or should it be seen as an American dream for Nigeria . Nigerians await the implementation of the recommendations especially before the 14th summit. The questions may sound rhetorical, but they beg for answers and are very serious ones.

Related Posts