Highlights from the 21st Nigerian Economic Summit
Following the inauguration of the Nigerian Economic Summit in 1993, for the past three years, the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) has organised a summit that focuses on specific sectors of the Nigerian economy. This year’s summit, which held at Transcorp Hilton hotel, Abuja was themed “Tough Choices: Achieving Competitiveness, Inclusive Growth and Sustainability.” The Minister for National Planning typically takes recommendations from the summit to the Federal Executive Council for likely incorporation to various government policies.
In line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) and the country’s move towards economic diversification in 2016, participants during the summit discussed salient issues on how to dismantle pillars of corruption, achieve competitiveness and non- inclusive growth in a non-oil environment, create employment opportunities, among other reforms.
According to Mrs. Bola Adesola, CEO, Standard Chartered Bank, a move towards SDG’s in 2016 requires more effort in order to maintain sustainability and stakeholders need to be sensitised about these goals to facilitate achieving goals towards economic development.
Since the SDGs will be replacing the Millennium Development Goals at the end of this year, Adesola encouraged Nigerians to consider the SDG’s as a business opportunity to boost the economy since most African countries missed out on the Millennium Development Goals.
Learning from Georgia
Speaking at the summit, former Georgia Prime Minister, Nike Gilauri, explained how Georgia focused on productivity and how major reforms led to an increase in their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate which currently is four times more than what Georgia experienced 8-9 years ago. Comparing Georgia with Nigeria, he highlighted the fact that it takes just a day to register a business in Georgia unlike Nigeria. Furthermore, he encouraged the current administration to embark on “tough transformation” which helped Georgia moved from being one of the most corrupt nations of the world to one of the ten least most corrupt nations.
In line with the above, Obiageli Ezekwesili, Former Minister of Education opined that Nigeria needs a synergy of policies, infrastructure and institutions to attain productivity growth.
Checks and balances
Furthermore, Dr. Joe Abah, Director of Bureau of Public Service Reform noted that reforms in the public service for the past two years have focused heavily on ministers. According to him, unity remains an important factor to successfully implement the reforms in order to improve business climate, public finance and solve problems of the past.
The quest for economic development is the responsibility of all tiers of government not the federal government alone. State governors revealed plans on how their states intend to contribute positively to the nation’s development. At the economic summit, Anambra state intends to focus on infrastructure, education and agriculture while Enugu state would contribute to the country’s energy sector by using coal for power generation and Delta state plans to work on waste management. Oyo state is also leveraging on its land mass and the advantage of size for regional integration.