The 24th Nigerian Economic Summit opened in Abuja with the country giving full support to the private sector to become the engine of economic growth and national development in the country.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning Sen. Udoma Udo-Udoma, said at the opening of that the Summit would present a unique opportunity for discussion among leaders and citizens to set an agenda for Nigerians to deepen civic engagement that will tackle service delivery deficits and factor conditions that impede policy implementation.
“The key objective of the summit is to underscore the link between good governance and economic growth and development’’.
Udo-Udoma said government was providing support to private sectors players in agriculture, power, manufacturing and solid minerals among other sectors to drive inclusive growth and development in the country.
“ It is therefore in recognition of the very important role that the private sector has in the economic transformation of our nation that we in this administration have always accord top priority to regular dialogue and engagement with the private sector.
“We are regularly meeting with the private sector, listening to the private sector, supporting the private sector, which is the engine room of economic development.
The Minister said the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) focus labs set up by the Federal Government was beginning to yield results.
“The EGRP was not just to take us out of recession, but to ensure that we move on a positive growth, a growth that is sustained, diversified and a growth that is inclusive.
“ I spoke of our plans to conduct a specific focus lab with a view of addressing some bureaucratic specific issues in setting up projects in Nigeria.
“The labs were held and conducted in agriculture, transportation, manufacturing and processing, power and gas, we have set up an ERGP delivering unit to deliver on the lab target.“
He said the Federal Government, as part of the lab process was able to assist Brass fertiliser and petrochemical development company in Bayelsa to obtain approval required by its financiers to commence production.
“`We brought everybody together and brass fertiliser is very large multibillion dollar company plant, position to be one of the large consumers of gas in the country within the next five years.
“If this project succeeds, it will create up to 20, 000 direct and indirect jobs for Nigerians.
“ The ERGP focus lab has also ensured that we accelerate the development of the national gold development policy and a federal gold reserve scheme in Nigeria.
“Today the first gold refining licenses has been issued to a company called Kian Smith limited which was one of the companies that participated in the labs”.
According to the minister, the Federal Government is finalising modalities to purchase gold for a local refineries via a federal gold reserve scheme subject to international standards.
He also said a local automobile assembly firm in Imo known as Autodex limited was being supported to double its capacity for the production of farm tractors among many other supports to private sector players in various sectors.
The minister said the ERGP delivering unit was working hard to advanced progress on many other potential projects which were identified in the labs.
Also speaking at the summit, Prof. Peter Lewis of Johns Hopkins University in the United States suggested measures required to move Nigeria forward.
He listed effective economic team, strengthening of peak economic institutions, alliance with urban entrepreneurs and rural producers and surmounting of critical bottlenecks in infrastructure notably electricity as the strategies to move the nation forward.
He also advised government to ensure a more predictable environment for transactions by ensuring successful economic transition, adding that development-oriented leadership drives change.
He said that modest changes in governance and institutions could produce significant growth effects.
According to him, government must focus on binding constraints to growth and revive sectorial strategies, especially industrial policy.