The Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu has advocated for real time investment in other sectors of the nation’s economy if the much talked about diversification of the economy from oil and gas must be a reality.
Bagudu spoke Monday at a public hearing on a bill for an Act to establish the Nigerian economic diversification council organised by the Senate Committee on National Planning and Economic Affairs.
The governor, who is a former senator said Nigeria is a blessed nation in all sense of the world and “we need to support different sectors of Nigeria, we need to support different constituents of Nigeria to do better.
“We have done well in petroleum and gas not because it is the only sector, but that is where we put in the most money. May be we have put, on an average basis between 1990 to 2010, which have been investing about 10 billion dollars in petroleum and gas when I say we, it is both public and private sectors”.
According to him “if you measure how much has been going into agriculture, for example, in that period, may be, it is less than 500 million dollars.
He said it will not be surprising that the outcome will be different, adding, “may be if we take mining, whether it is gold, which every state has something to offer, again may be we have not invested as much.
For him, “diversification has restructuring as an element of that so that we support the constituent parts whether they are states or sectors so that each can contribute more than it is contributing.
“Some of the anger we have had in the land may be result from the lack of inclusion when oil production was contaminating water bodies or in the oil producing states.
“Those who hitherto used those fresh water bodies as sources of livelihood for fisheries so those water bodies taken over by weed. And they also got angry and they said it doesn’t matter, you can go on producing oil but what about us.
He said late President Umaru Yar’Adua recognised that we had an amnesty programme that was restraining them and may be similarl things are happening elsewhere that if we recognise and provide legislative backing to our diversification quest, we will be able to tell the world we are serious about diversification.
“The evidence in the last seven years had some positive traction that we can build and we can do better and quicker, adding that “it’s a collective”.
“Nigeria is a trillion dollar investment destination. Nigeria, what is our federal budget, less than 35 billion dollars, may be the national assembly is about to pass the 2023 budget I’m sure it won’t be up to 40 billion dollars. What is the budget of Brazil a country that is similar to Nigeria in terms of population, about 700 billion dollars.
“So if somebody is taking care of 220 million people with 700 billion dollars, you are taking care of 200 with less than 10 per cent of that. Isn’t it a no brainer that you will not be able to achieve as much. But we have to all come together, we have to borrow more money if that is what is required or we have to support all sectors to produce more money so that we can fund all our priorities bad.
On the forthcoming election, he thinks “we have made a statement enough in Nigeria that everyone is convinced that free, fair and transparent elections always lead to more confidence in the society, less rancour in the society.
He said the value of free, fair and transparent election is there for all to appreciate, adding “what is important is for everyone to see what more can I do to ensure that we have free, fair and transparent election.
“Sometimes, we are all guilty in the sense that we think it’s somebody who should solve the problem.
However, he said even transparent elections do not guarantee the best outcomes, sometimes still, democracy is based on appeal of populist leaders, leaders who are popular at a particular time.
“We should all play a role to ensure that our processes are strengthened And they are strengthening. Today INEC is enhancing the transparency of election by better accreditation, speedy accreditation, better transmission of results in good time, security agencies are helping, above all President Buhari has committed to free, fair and transparent election even in states where our party has lost elections.
“We are a blessed nation in all sense of the word and we have to support and we need to support different constituents of Nigeria”, he concluded.
Mr. Thomson Akpabio from Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) drew the attention of the committee to section 332 which stipulates 2% tax on imported textile while it imposes 10% on locally produced one thereby serving as a disincentive to local manufacturing.
The sponsor of the bill, Sabi Abdullahi (Niger North) expressed his delight that the public hearing was well attended as stakeholders made very meaningful contributions that will enrich the legislation.
AfCTA: Marine and Blue Economy minister delighted as NPA hosts West, Central African Ports in Nigeria
The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola has expressed delight in the prospects of the hosting right conferred on the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) for the 43rd Annual Council and 18th Managing Directors’ Roundtable by the Port Management Association of West & Central Africa (PMAWCA).
The NPA won the hosting right in recognition of the remarkable improvements it demonstrated in advancing the frontiers of trade facilitation.
The gathering of 24 littoral African countries scheduled to hold from November 6 to 9 at the Lagos Continental Hotel Victoria Island Lagos is expected to be declared open by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The Council has as theme: “The Role of Ports in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The annual council provides a platform for the cross-fertilisation of ideas, experiences and knowledge sharing to guide necessary policy action towards maximizing the maritime comparative advantage of the sub-region.
Speaking on Nigeria’s preparedness and expectations from the conference, the Minister said, “This gathering of maritime experts is very timely as it is coming when Nigeria is eager to provide the leadership necessary to convert our marine and blue economy potentials to actualities in a bid to provide opportunities for our growing youth population.”
He added that, “to demonstrate the premium we place on maximizing the emerging opportunities of AfCFTA which is the focal point of the conference, we have given the Nigerian Ports Authority all the support necessary for a flawless hosting.”
Responding during a media chat preparatory to the occasion at the NPA Headquarters in Marina, Managing Director, NPA, Mohammed Bello Koko, mentioned that, “our confidence in hosting this conference is in demonstration of our readiness to provide regional leadership in ports competitiveness and is inspired by the uncommon trade facilitation orientation of Mr. President who is already endorsing some of our initiatives for the maximization of our littoral assets under the auspices of the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy.”
DG ACCI commends Dangote group for scaling up volume of Nigeria’s Foreign Exchange
By Ahmed Rufa’i, Dutse
The Director-General of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Mrs. Victoria Akwai, has commended Dangote Group of Companies for helping to scale up the volume of foreign exchange through export of his products.
Mrs Akwai who gave the commendation in his speech delivered at the Special Day of the Dangote Group at the ongoing 18th Abuja International Trade Fair (AITF) said exports of the company’s’ products such as Fertilizer, Cement to other countries has boosted Nigeria’s foreign reserve.
She identified Dangote Group of Companies as one of Nigeria’s biggest earners of Foreign Exchange thereby contributing to the growth and development of the country’s economy.
According to her “This year’s Trade Fair looked at the issue of Made in Nigeria, and we are proud that the Dangote Group is the champion of Made in Nigeria products”.
She commended the Dangote Group for the sponsorship of the 18th Trade Fair, which has as its theme: “Sustainable Finance and Taxation as Drivers of the New Economy.”
The Dangote Group’s Executive Director, Government and Stakeholders Relations, Mansur Ahmed, an Engineer, said the company is committed to its industrialization project in Africa.
While noting that the Dangote Group is the biggest employer of labour, he said the company’s’ President Aliko Dangote is passionate about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Corporate Philanthropy.
Mr. Ahmed commended the Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led government over its reform effort, and numerous steps taken to ginger the economy.
According to Mr. Ahmed the partnership with ACCI offers the company the opportunity to display its numerous innovative products while contributing its quota to the Nigerian economy through Trade Fairs and expos.
At the trade fair, the company’s pavilion became a mecca of a sort as participants trooped to catch glimpse of the several innovative products on display.
A statement by the Branding and Corporate Communications Department of the company said a special help desk has been set up at the company’s pavilion to respond to queries while urging participants to leverage on the numerous innovative products which included the: Dangote Fertiliser, Dangote Sugar, Dangote Cement, Dangote Salt, and lots more.
The Trade Fair will run between September 28 and October 9, 2023.
Economic downturn: Fasua, other experts, say, Nigeria needs home grown solutions
The Special Adviser to the Vice President, Kashim Shettima on Economic Affairs, Tope Fasua, has indicated that Nigeria has all what is needed to overcome all of its current economic challenges given the country’s abundant human and natural resources.
Fasua spoke on Thursday at a colloquium organized in his honour to mark his 52nd birthday anniversary in Abuja.
He said all that the country needs is for it to unlock its full potentials by developing its own “home grown solutions”, and taking advantage of the limitless opportunities that abound in the country to address its needs especially in the short run.
“All I see are Opportunities for development. I do not like to see the economy from the position of its challenges. I see only opportunities and prospects. This economy has not even started yet, hopefully it will start to grow with this administration
Speaking further, he advised that while the country steps up its fight against corruption, the country must not lose sight of the need to grow its economy, pointing out that this can be better achieved by looking more inwardly instead of relying on foreign interventions.
He said Nigeria can start by ramping up production which will then attract more Foreign investment Investments and ultimately create job opportunities, rake in foreign exchange and strengthen the Naira.
Speaking to Journalists on the sidelines, Director General, Bureau of Public Service Reforms, Dasuki Arabi shared similar sentiments with Fasua on the need for government to look inward for answers to Nigeria’s economic challenges.
He noted that President Bola Tinubu had in his inaugural speech set the pace with a clear roadmap towards economic recovery and that with people like Fasua having opportunity to work closely with him, Nigeria will in no time bounce back.
“We are happy he has a place in this government, as I said it we cannot get outsiders to do it for us it has to be a home grown solution to the problem that we are facing and we have a president that is giving people the space to address the challenges and problems facing this country.
“If you look at his inaugural speech he spoke about value addition improvement in foreign exchange earnings
“Most especially that message of saying use what we produce what we eat that will reduce our demand for foreign dependency on import and we look inwards to solving our problem.”
In his goodwill message, former Director General, Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (NIMASA), Dakuku Peterside said the major ingredient needed to jumpstart the Nigerian economy is quality leadership which he said is embodied in the current administration.
Five books authored by Tope Fasua were also presented at the intellectual discourse with many of them providing answers to Nigeria’s economic challenges.
The event had in attendance a crème of other prominent economic experts and policy matters.
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