By Omoh Gabriel, Business Editor
The federal government and the organized private sector are billed to meet at a one day dialogue section to brain storm on the economy and also to fashion a way forward for a viral and stronger private sector voice in the economy. The event is being put together by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group in collaboration with the office of the Economic Adviser to the President and the National Planning Commission preparatory to the take off of the 12th Nigeria Economic Summit (NES #12).
Expected at the stakeholders forum are Nigeria Economic Summit Group NESG; the federal government Economic Team, The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN); Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce Industry Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA); Nigeria Association of Small Scale Industries (NASSI); Nigeria Association of Small and Medium Scale Enterprise (NASME); Women in Business (WIMBIZ); The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC); Public Affairs Committees of both the Senate and House of Representatives; The Nigerian Network of NGOs and Development Partners
For the first time in the 12 year history of the Nigerian Economic summit a Public /Private sector dialogue will precede the actual summit. Also for the first time the various bodies representing interest groups in the private sector will be present under one roof to dialogue with the government on the way forward for the economy as well as providing a common platform on which the various private sector bodies can collaborate for effective public policy advocacy.
The Tuesday stakeholders meeting on the economy will be chaired by the Economic Adviser to the president and CEO National Planning Commission, Dr. Osita Ogbu and former Chief Economic Adviser to the President, Chief Philip Asiodu co-chairing the Public Private Dialogue Roundtable while the Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala and Mr. Benjamin Herzberg Private sector specialist of the World Bank are billed to speak at the dialogue. Others are President MAN, President NACCIMA and number of development partners.
According to the NESG “Public Private Dialogue (PPD) has gained currency as an important aspect of policy reform in the development process. In the past six years President Olusegun Obasanjo has himself championed Public/Private Sector Dialogue on wide ranging issues and sectors in Nigeria”.
But the NESG said that despite the progress so far made there are, however, a number of gaps in the current framework for Public/Private Sector Dialogue among which are that the various groups within the Private Sector and Civil Society that are often working at cross purposes with each other generating an environment of competition rather than collaboration; It said that as a result of this development within the private sector “The flow of information is often restricted so that not all stakeholders get involved” and that “There is a tendency for Government to be faced with often inconsistent demands as a multiplicity of non state actor groups dialogue with government on same issues at different times”.
According to NESG “It is clear, therefore, that the PPD process will be significantly improved by a harmonized approach and a common platform. It is suggested that a common platform for PPD will provide a more consistent framework for private sector input into policy formulation.
NESG, therefore, proposes that an all stakeholders forum to discuss modalities for creating such a PPD framework will be most beneficial to the on-going socio-economic reform process. In order, therefore, to build confidence among the various stakeholders the Economic Adviser to the President, Dr Osita Ogbu and Chief Philip Asiodu are jointly hosting a PPD Roundtable to consider the above issues”.