Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, has disclosed that the Federal Government is working with the private sector and relevant stakeholders to encourage production and consumption of Made-in-Nigeria goods and services even as the vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo described Dangote Group as a game changer to the Nigerian economy.
Speaking at the opening of 22nd edition of the Nigerian Economic Summit (NES) yesterday in Abuja with the theme: “Made-in-Nigeria,’’ Udoma said with more patronage of Made-in-Nigeria goods and services, producers would be encouraged to improve quality and create jobs for the teeming youth.
He said, “There is no doubt that one of the fastest routes to grow our economy and create jobs is by encouraging our people to produce more and export more.This strategy will also generate foreign exchange that can help in stabilising and strengthening the Naira.’’
According to him, the government would start taking steps to encourage its officials to buy Made-in-Nigeria products. He said the government would also continue to improve the enabling environment for businesses to thrive in the country. “We will continue, among other things, to prioritise our spending towards critical infrastructure in order to improve Nigerian competitiveness. Government agencies will work with the private sector to support research with a view to develop high quality indigenous products and technologies.
“Many of our programmes have been structured in such a way as to stimulate domestic production. For instance, our School Feeding Programme will utilise only locally grown and produced food items. But much more needs to be done by both the public sector and the private sector to encourage and support local production,’’ he said.
Udoma, however, urged the stakeholders to come up with practical roadmap that would contextualise “Made in Nigeria” as an economic growth and development strategy for our short, medium and long term development.
Also, Mr Kyari Bukar, Chairman of Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) said the summit has overtime become a platform to discuss and understand economic policies in the country in the past 22 years.
Bukar commended the government for implementing some of the recommendations of NES 21 which included diversification of the economy.
He urged the government to implement more of those recommendations to help the country move out of the current economic recession.
The Chairman said that the theme of the summit would be used to embody the imperative to commit to the structural and fiscal change required to strengthen the economy.
“Past summits have made recommendations on self-sufficiency in local production and an export-driven economy.
“With our current economic realities, this is the perfect opportunity to articulate a national discussion on Made-in-Nigeria to become an economic growth and development agenda.
“It will also seek to work out strategies to achieve self-sufficiency and value-addition capacities for several products and services in the shortest possible time,’’ he said.
Also speaking at the Summit, Vice President Osinbajo said Dangote Group is an example of a game changer private sector that has been supporting the economy in many areas, saying “Once the Dangote refinery comes on stream, it will help with the forex issue and create jobs for our people.”
Osinbajo, who was referring to the ongoing construction of the Dangote Refinery with the capacity to refine 650,000 barrels a day, said the government is proud that a Nigerian company has undertaken to construct such a gigantic refinery which is the largest in the world.
He said the Muhammadu Buhari led government has a very clear policy and objective, urging Nigerians to have confidence in the government change mantra.
Declaring the summit open, President Muhammadu Buhari said the private sector is key to his administration, adding that the theme for the 22nd summit, ‘Made in Nigeria’, is apt in view of the need to look inwardly and support local manufacturers.
An associate professor from the Lagos Business School, Doyin Salami said the made in Nigeria concept was apt adding that it must cover production, global competitiveness, inclusiveness and value addition to global economy.
On his part, the minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi said his ministry is bringing in big ticket player into the mining sector, just as he said that the sector has great potentials as Nigeria diversifies its economy.
The Dangote Group is one of the major sponsors of the three-day Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja.
The NESG was incorporated in 1996 as non-profit, private sector organisation with a mandate to promote and champion the reform of Nigerian economy into an open, private sector-led globally competitive economy. The summit is organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Budget and National Planning.