By Etuka Sunday
Economy Experts at the ongoing 23rd Nigerian Economic Summit (NES) established that Nigeria has one of the largest livestock populations in Africa, but imports about $500million worth of leather products annually.
Holding in Abuja, the nation’s capital, the experts believed that for a country like Nigeria to prosper, there must be an increase in national output, consequently, suggested that Nigeria needs to change course to a production economy.
NES23 is expected to afford public and private sectors experts the opportunity to brainstorm with some far reaching recommendations that’ll propel the Nigerian economy forward.
With the Theme: opportunities, productivity and employment-actualising the economic recovery and growth plan, the NES23 is also expected to address issues in manufacturing – Renewable energy -Transport -Agriculture industries.
Addressing participants at the summit, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma said, the current administration is committed to the implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) therefore, is working with the private sector in that regard.
He said, the ERGP is a product of Public – Private Partnership to attain agrowth rate of 7 per cent by 2020.
The Minister said disclosed that special units (labs) have been set up to ensure effective implementation of the plan.
He said: “In the coming weeks, we will be running sector-focused Malaysian style labs.
“The labs are intended to bring all relevant stakeholders into weeks of intensive working sessions, to brainstorm on practical steps to overcoming identified challenges in the selected area.
“The central objective of the labs will be to bring in private capital to finance projects across the country.
“We will be inviting many of you to participate in these labs.
“Some of the staff we have retained will be available in the course of the Summit to interact with you and give you more information on the proposed labs as well as all our implementation initiatives,” he said.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the occasion, Mr Kyari Bukar said, the summit was organised to chat a way forward for Nigeria’s current weak economy.
“We expect some far reaching recommendations that’ll propel the Nigerian economy forward. We are working closely with the Federal government for the implementation of the ERGP.”
He said: “The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) is willing to work with state governments to deepen opportunities in the states We hope the robust discussion at will lead to meaningful growth for our dear country.
On his part, Nigerian economist, entrepreneur, and the Chairman of Heirs Holdings, the United Bank for Africa, Transcorp and founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Mr Tony Onyemaechi Elumelu said, investors want to go to a country where the locals are doing well. So Nigeria must support the young ones in the country.
According to him, localization should seek to include everyone. Growth needs to be felt by the people, therefore, “If we fix the problem of Electricity, the Economy will grow better,” he said.
Elumelu said: “It’s true that government is making efforts but there’s still room for improvement for example in the area of taxation.”
Experts also revealed that Nigeria’s infrastructure stock is valued at $3 Trillion. Saying that the country imported 1.47m metric tonnes of sugar in 2015, produced 70k metric with potential market size of 1.7m tonnes.