MINISTRY OF FINANCE, BUDGET AND NATIONAL PLANNING
Dr. (Mrs.) Zainab S. Ahmed
Honourable Minister, Ministry of Finance Budget and National Planning
MINISTRY OF FINANCE, BUDGET AND NATIONAL PLANNING, ABUJA
October, 15, 2020
I am delighted to address you on this very auspicious occasion of the World Press Conference for the Twenty Sixth Nigerian Economic Summit (NES#26). Let me start by commending you on the roles you played in publicising and projecting the Twenty-fifth Nigerian Economic Summit (NES#25). Basically, the purpose of this event is to brief you the Gentlemen of the Press on our preparation for this year’s Summit, but first we are looking forward to an even greater support from you as we host the 26th Summit. This year’s Summit is relatively unique, as it being hosted at a point in time when the country and the world economy at large is passing through a difficult period occasion by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This therefore calls for greater public and private engagement in our efforts towards cushioning the effects of the pandemic and ensuring quick recovery from the anticipated and recession.
2. As you may be aware, the Nigerian Economic Summit is organized annually by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) and the Federal Government of Nigeria represented by the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning. The Summit which is a replica of the World Economic Forum has been acknowledged as a veritable platform for dialogue between the leaders of Public and Private Sectors. The Forum is an opportunity for interaction, experience sharing and building consensus on contemporary economic issues in Nigeria.
3. It also brings together development partners, the civil society and representatives of the academia as well as provides participants the unique opportunity to interact on issues of national development whilst evolving a common strategy and policy framework for addressing issues. The Summit has over the years helped to shape many of the reform policies underpinning the evolution of our economic growth and development.
4. Gentlemen of the Press, you will recall that the 25th Summit, focused on “Nigeria 2050: Shifting Gears”. Shifting Gears emphasized the imperatives for the country to move to a more robust competitive private sector economy while discussing the implication of the projected population of the country hitting over 400 million people by 2050 with 65% of the population under the age of 35yrs.
5. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, the 26th Summit is scheduled to hold from October 26 – 27, 2020 at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja. The theme of the Summit, is “Building Partnership for Resilience”. It will be a big conversation for public and private sector stakeholders to reflect on the state of the Nigerian economy, rethink the country’s economic fundamentals and deliberate on the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Even as the architecture of the post COVID-19 economy is yet to evolve, it is important Nigeria’s top policy makers and business leaders as well as citizens to proactively converge and engage to address the key questions that presently confront the country. The summit will therefore emphasize the urgency to strengthen multi-stakeholder alliances between governments and businesses in co-creating a national strategy that will usher Nigeria in the decade of action.
6. This Summit is timely as the government is currently developing a Medium-Term National Development Plan (MTNDP), 2021-2025 and the Nigeria Agenda 2050. There are 26 Technical Working Groups, 1 Central Working Group and the Steering Committee committed to the process. The process is consultative, participatory and inclusive involving all the segments of the society and covering all the sectors of the economy. The Plans are to address developmental challenges in all aspects of the country’s national life and will be driven by the Organised Private Sector while the government creates the enabling environment to facilitate growth and development and aligned to the continental Agenda (AU Agenda 2063) and Global Agenda(Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 2030. The MTNDP 2021-2025 is expected to be formally launched in December, 2020 while the Nigeria Agenda 2050 will be finalized in July 2021.
7. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, the Summit will be an opportunity to mobilize all Nigerians to take responsibility and catalyze a future in which sub-national economies will drive Nigeria’s sustainable economic growth, development, and competitiveness in partnership with the private sector. It is expected that the outcome of the Summit will articulate very clearly and decisive actions aimed at building partnerships for resilience that will put Nigeria in a strong and competitive position among comity of nations.
8. The 2020 edition of the NEGS will be hybrid, a combination of physical and virtual participation in adherence to the COVID-19 protocols. We have made considerable progress in our preparations and the Summit would be anchored on Plenary, CEO Roundtable, Briefings, Workshops, Co-labs, Re-modelled Pitching Events and High-level panel discussions. Key outcomes of past Summits and their impact on the Nigerian Economy will also be reviewed.
9. This year’s Summit will be underpinned by three Pillars: collaboration, execution, and impact. These pillars will run through all the sessions at the Summit with a strong emphasis on reinforcing the role of sub-nationals as the frontiers of economic growth and development as we build a more inclusive and sustainable economy under the following Sub-themes:
- Mapping the future;
- New Trends, New Opportunities, New Horizons;
- Embracing Technology and Innovation;
- Building Resilience; and
- Charting the Path to Recovery.
10. At this juncture let me say that to ensure a competitive economy we must have a stable macroeconomic conditions and also a stable business climate that will keep transaction costs low, drive savings, investment and job creation. This is where the role of the government becomes critical in ensuring enabling policies and strategies are in place for the private sector to excel.
11. At the national level, the closure of the land borders, is one of the boldest decisions ever taken by any administration to curb insecurity, smuggling and kidnapping. This has in a positive way impacted Nigeria as we are closer to attaining self-sufficiency in rice production than at any point in time in the country’s history. This spillover effect is also evident in other sectors such as manufacturing, livestock amongst others. This border closure also provides an opportunity for the private sector to leverage increased local content and expand their businesses.
12. Ladies and Gentlemen, the effective implementation of government policies enabled Nigeria to move 15 places to 131st in 2020 ease of doing business report of the World Bank from 146th in 2019 position on the ease of doing business ranking of the World Bank. Government is also working on operational, regulatory and legislative interventions to enable the country move to the top 100 on ease of doing business ranking. Nigerian governments across all levels will continue to initiate business-oriented policies and ensure adequate commitment to their implementation. As the nation awaits the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, the Finance Act and the Companies and Allied Matters Act (Repeal and Re-enactment) recently signed by Mr. President will transform the business environment and re-energize the private sector as the engine of growth of our economy.
13. As you are aware, the greatest challenge facing government is inadequate revenue to execute her numerous projects and other initiatives. New sources of revenues are being identified and explored and we expect the outcomes to be positive. Coordination and cohesion among revenue generating agencies, is being improved.
14. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, this year’s Summit is particularly unique for the country as all stakeholders are required, now more than ever before, to take ownership of the social and economic future of Nigeria at a time of crisis and create a more prosperous nation for all citizens.
15. Distinguished Gentlemen of the Press the task of organizing a Summit of this magnitude has never been easy. In this regard, let me appreciate the contributions of the various corporate organization that have provided support towards the successful hosting of the Summit. They have remained reliable partners. The tireless efforts of members of the Joint Planning Committee (JPC) is also worthy of commendation. I therefore solicit your cooperation, support, adequate coverage and reportage of the Twenty Sixth Nigerian Economic Summit, (NES#26).
16. I thank you for your kind attention.