Economic and financial experts have outlined strategies for rebuilding Nigeria’s battered mono-economy, after weak global oil prices, inadequate policies and socio-politically motivated destruction of oil facilities in the Niger-delta region plunged the nation into recession.
The recommendations were made at the 1st National Chevening Alumni Leadership Summit held at the prestigious Intercontinental Hotel, Lagos last Friday, organised by the British High Commission, with the theme: “The Economic Prosperity of Nigeria and the Role of Alumni in Contributing to Economic Growth.”
The stage for discussion at the event was set by the President of the Nigerian Senate, Bukola Saraki, who stated that the Senate was legislating on various bills at different stages of passage that would help instil investment confidence in the economy.
Saraki stressed that it was critical to put people with the right capacity in key positions in the public sector rather than jeopardise the efficiency of the sector and policies implementation through political and ethnic sentiments.
“The wrong people will delay successful implementation of good policies. The public sector needs to build systems like the private sector that doesn’t encourage corruption to thrive,” he said.
In his remarks, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Paul Arkwright, disclosed that the Chevening scholarship which has taken 53 people to the UK this year is looking at developing human capital fit for purpose, ready to engage and restore the glory of the public sector.
“We are adopting a deliberate focus to encourage the right calibre of people to apply for the Chevening drawn from the Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government as an investment in the people of Nigeria,” he said.
In a break-out session for the South-South and South-East regions of Nigeria, anchored by Barrister Osita Oparaugo, Publisher/CEO of Footprint to Africa; Dr Ifediora Amobi, Executive Director/Secretary of Anambra state Investment Promotion and Protection Agency and Mr Fidelis Ekom, MADE Market for the Delta, it was agreed that government will need to review its engagement policies with the people of the regions in order to reap more economic dividends.
Oparaugo noted that the problem was with the political framework and as such legislation must be enacted to specifically mandate the re-investments of capital proceeds from the regions into host communities, especially in the area of infrastructure development.
The Footprint to Africa Boss also noted that the micro, small and medium enterprise sector was not getting sufficient support from the government to escalate value-added activities that could lead to exports and generate the much needed foreign exchange.
“There is a growing recognition of the important role MSMEs play in economic development and I strongly believe that Nigeria should focus like never before in developing the sector, should we want to come out of our present economic situation,” he said.
Also present at the event were the CEO of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe; Amina Oyagbola, HR Executive MTN Nigeria; Bolaji Abdullahi, Former Minister of Sports; Ibrahim Pam, Head Institutional Integrity, Green Climate Fund and Mohammad Sani Dattijo, Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Kaduna State among other dignitaries.
Source: The New Times