Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) has listed seven critical sectors the federal government will use to achieve the targets set in the new National Development Plan.
Osinbajo, who spoke on Monday during a virtual interaction at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Country Strategy Dialogue on Nigeria, said the economy is set for effective growth and job creation with a renewed focus on digital economy, significant value addition in agriculture and other sectors including oil and gas, while boosting productivity generally.
The vice president, in a statement issued by his media aide, Laolu Akande, said, “The cornerstone of our strategy is boosting productivity by focusing on value addition as the guiding principle for all sectors, especially in agriculture, manufacturing, solid minerals, digital services, tourism, hospitality and entertainment.
“There will also be specific attention to review trade policies that are rather too broad and expand the supply sides in revenues, foreign exchange and electricity,” he said.
The WEF Dialogue series held in select countries is aimed at promoting productive conversations about key axes of growth and investment
Speaking on the new National Development Plan, Osinbajo noted that the new strategic direction will enable the country to achieve a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate that is higher than the rate of growth of the population and enable more social inclusion.
According to the VP, “three broad objectives of our post-COVID-19 development strategy; the first is to overcome the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the second is to achieve a GDP growth rate that is higher than the rate of growth of population and the third broad objective is to enable more social inclusion.”
In agriculture, Osinbajo said“just as we seek to increase production of rice, we are paying equal attention to other parts of the value chain such as storage, transportation, processing and marketing.
“Part of the whole idea of getting the orientation right is to align our policy orientation in order to achieve the objectives of the new strategic direction. One key thing in terms of getting the orientation right is jobs creation. The basic question with every programme and policy of government is how many jobs, direct and indirect, will this create.”
While explaining areas where attention should be focused on supply-side issues, the VP said “stopping resort to demand management as the first policy option, and we think a post-COVID-19 policy reorientation requires moving away from a strategy of managing limited supplies to one of expanding the supply base for example in foreign exchange, government revenues, electricity, and petroleum products.”
On electricity, Osinbajo explained that rather than expending energy on managing the distribution of 5,000mw that is currently being transmitted through the National Grid, “the focus must be on increasing the supply of electricity including through allowing mini-grids, pushing solar power connections and allowing integrated power companies to emerge.”
The Vice President identified digital economy as an area that is “big for us and the next couple of years, and we are focusing on it.” His words: “first through getting additional funding, we have a $600million Innovation Fund with the African Development Bank which we hope will really energize the industry.
“Nigeria has 6-7 Unicorns and all came between 2016 and now, in the middle of two recessions. It does show you how much energy and how much traction the whole technology space is gaining.”
In its introductory report on the Strategy Dialogue on Nigeria, the World Economic Forum noted the response of the Federal Government to the economic fallouts of the COVID-19 pandemic saying, “the Nigerian government reacted swiftly with a COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund and a stimulus package of N2.3 trillion as part of the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP)” which boosted its economic growth and helped the country exit recession.
Participants at the event were the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning of Nigeria, Hajia Zainab Ahmed; Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Mariam Katagum; and the Managing Director/CEO, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, Mr. Uche Orji.
Others were the President, World Economic Forum, Børge Brende; Chief Executive Officer and Vice-Chairman of the Board of Agility, Kuwait, Tarek Sultan Al Essa; Chairman, Seplat Petroleum, Nigeria, Ambrosie Chukwueloka Orjiako; Chairman, Zenith Bank, Nigeria, Mr. Jim Ovia; President, Islamic Development Bank, Saudi Arabia, Muhammad Sulaiman Al Jasser; and the Chair, Prudential, United Kingdom, Shriti Vadera.
Also yesterday, Osinbajo said the Buhari administration remains committed to the revitalisation and development of the mining sector while ensuring it attracts more local and foreign investments.
Osinbajo said this is because the mining sector is a critical part of the administration’s recent National Development Plan 2021-2025.
His spokesman (Akande) said the vice president stated this on Tuesday in his remarks delivered virtually at the opening of the 5th Annual Nigeria Mining Week Discourse Series, with the theme: “Top Seven Reasons to Invest in Nigeria’s Mining Sector.”
“It is significant that within the space of a year, we have recorded a 26.7% increase in revenue generation from 2019 to 2020. But while this is encouraging, we recognize that there is still a lot of work to be done.
“That is why this forum is so important. We are privileged to have in attendance, so many distinguished experts and resource persons that deeply understand governance vis-à-vis the Mining Sector in Nigeria.”
Highlighting the inflow of notable investments already recorded in the sector, the VP stated that this was early evidence that the Federal Government’s framework is on the right track.
“These investments include Thor Exploration Limited’s Segilola Gold Mine in Osun State, with an initial production capacity of 80,000 ounces of gold annually, representing the first large-scale gold mine in Nigeria”, he said.
The Vice President added “in June last year, I also had the privilege of commissioning the Dukia Gold & Precious Metals Refinery (DGPMR) Project. The Company set out to be a foremost indigenous refiner and trader of gold and other precious metals. Its potential impact on the gold sector is nothing short of revolutionary.
The Nigeria Mining Week is organized by the Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN) in collaboration with the private sector and is supported by the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.