By Lawrence Olaoye
President Muhammadu Buhari, state governors, captains of industries and members of the academia have begun to brainstorm on how to evolve initiatives for economic growth in the country at the ‘Next Level’.
As the President declared open the two-day Presidential Policy Dialogue yesterday at the Presidential Villa, the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, advocated for the replacement of the ongoing government policy of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) with a long term development plan for the country.
Oshiomhole also called on the President to change tactics in his fight against corruption by putting in place measures geared at preventing sleaze in the private and public sectors.
This came as he kicked against the practice where federal and states governments borrow pension funds to finance budget deficits of investing same on the workers through mortgages.
The President, in his opening remarks, said the dialogue was to “Advise the government over the next four years to deliver on our promises in a manner that reflects true changes to the livelihood of the people and discuss and propose for Federal Government’s approval, key strategies and high impact initiatives to stimulate economic growth and development.”
He assured of the commitments of his administration to consolidate the successes of its first term and creating an avenue such that the nation’s investments and resources are geared towards sustainable development. “We will implement structures that will accelerate speedy execution of these initiatives,” he said.
Oshiomhole in his comments recounted the successes recorded by the President on his three pronged focus on insecurity, fight against corruption and repositioning the economy but conceded that there were still much to be done in these three critical areas.
APC helmsman said “On the economy, there is the challenge of high rate of poverty, inequality, access to credit and mortgage. Mr President, I know deep in your heart and assessing the basis of our campaign the issue of inequality is primary. We don’t just want to grow the economy, create more wealth, we are also interested in who is benefiting from this wealth and what policy instruments are required to ensure that inequality is addressed and that the average Nigerian people, particularly the masses that constitute the electorates, benefit from the fruit of growth.
This will require a review of access to credit and access to mortgage, unemployment, low level of manufacturing and the need for diversification of the economy.”
He continued “On anti corruption, I believe that we can commendably beat our chests as to the extend to which we have gone in implementing our anticorruption war but there is need to ensure that our range of actions covers prevention – that is system, involvement of the Nigerian citizens, the society, and the prosecution of offenders. There are many who have said that we should not just pursue corruption, we should deal with how to even prevent it.”