The 28th Nigerian Economic Summit has come and gone but the expected gains from the summit cannot be swept under the carpet. This is considering the fact that the inflation is soaring with the rate of 21.09 per cent released by the National Bureau of Statistics ( NBS) for October 2022.
The summit was highly graced by men and women of timber and calibre both home and abroad to road map economic policies that will actualise the targeted goals.
Nigeria being the biggest economy in Africa and seeks to raise GDP to $965 billion — almost a trillion Dollars by 2027.
Under President Muhammadu Buhari, the nation has recorded marked progress in highways construction, bridges, railway, power, electrification and capacity addition in airports and their modernisation.
As the President spoke, making the determination of his government to open more sectors of the economy to the private sector, a particular participant stunned not a few when he announced that he manages pension funds of $1.3 billion money well in excess of Nigeria’s current GDP, five times over.
First, well over a billion dollars’ worth of deals benefitting Nigeria and her partners were signed at the Forum, including a $1.3 billion investment from Sun Africa for a new solar energy project; $70 million ring-fenced by Adryada and Noblesse Green Energy for a new biodiversity project; strategic financing support for a new refinery on the Niger Delta announced by Honeywell UOP; and a major philanthropic investment in data for Nigerian schools announced by Airtel Africa that would be setting up internet connection for 100 schools each year for five years running.A highlight of the event was the Presidential Luncheon, which saw Guest of Honour President Buhari joined by CEOs and Senior Executives from some of the largest and most prominent American and African companies, including GE, Chevron, Honeywell, Bell Flight, Sun Africa, McGraw Hill, American Tower and many more.
Back home here, a lot have been discussed and said about the summit by top Government officials among other stakeholders. Some of the highlights; the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo spoke on increased productivity, value addition across sectors to create more jobs for the youths thereby shrinking the unemployment gap in the country. With pressing national, global economic challenges, and emerging local and global trends, the task ahead of the Nigerian nation requires partnership, innovative thinking, and most importantly, disciplined implementation, by both government and the private sector. It also focused on leveraging disruptive technologies through digitization for further economic developments, as well as the need to improve social welfare programmes, and focused investment in the country’s youth.
He highlighted local security and economic challenges, global turbulence on the political, economic and social fronts, including the Russia-Ukraine war and global tensions, which he noted is impacting Africa, including through higher food prices and disruptions to democratic governance.
Another highlight at the summit was that of the International monetary Fund (IMF) which pushed for Nigeria to avoid having any external influence in the choice of her foreign exchange policy. The IMF Resident Representative, Mr Ari Aisen, suggested for a clear autonomy for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to be able to decide monetary policies in the country.
The Minister of Finance Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed on her part revealed an end to the ongoing fuel subsidy in June next year.
Ultimately, the economic think-tank at the summit pinpointed several areas that will bring a total Transformation in the Economic Sector but the issue of implementation must have a drastic and stringent measures. There should be timeframe allotted to policies with evaluation team in monitoring execution.