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Osinbajo: 7 things VP said during economic summit

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo delivered the opening address at the 23rd economic summit. Here's our pick of the bunch.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo delivered the opening speech at the 23rd National Economic Summit (NES) currently taking place in Abuja.

Here are our seven take-aways from that address:

1. Private sector is key to reviving Nigerian economy.

The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari recognises that the private sector will be key to finally setting Nigeria on the path of inclusive and sustainable economic growth, Osinbajo says.

“Our policy of partnering with the private sector is also borne out of reality.  While the Federal Government on its part is determined to build a modern economy, its ability to do so is limited by the fact that its annual budgeted expenditure of seven trillion naira is only a small part of a multi trillion naira economy”, Osinbajo said.

 

He added that: “The private sector is clearly the bigger contributor to the economy. It thus follows that the private sector must be enabled and encouraged to play its decisive role if our development efforts are to succeed”.

2. Foreign exchange reserves rising again.

Osinbajo says there’s plenty of forex at the moment and the nation’s reserves isn’t as gloomy as it looked last year.

“Last year, there were concerns about the availability of foreign exchange and a rapidly deteriorating exchange rate.  The situation has been turned around and stabilised.

 

“Foreign exchange reserves have risen to about $33 billion and end users have increased access to foreign exchange partly due to increased export earnings and remittances as well as the introduction of a dedicated transparent window for Investors and Exporters (NIFEX).

“The results have been encouraging as the inflows of capital in the second quarter of 2017 of about $1.8 billion were almost double the amount of $908 million imported in the first quarter of the year”, the VP said.

3. Electricity supply has improved.

According to Osinbajo; “for a variety of reasons including shortage of gas, limitations in transmission capacity and financing constraints, power supply was in the region of about 3000MW. 

 

"We tackled these issues and although still vastly inadequate, power supply has moved up to 7000MW. We are at the moment dealing with the constraints in distribution, with two notable policy interventions”.

4. It’s easier to do business in Nigeria at the moment.

In Osinbajo’s words, “The Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, PEBEC, introduced reforms under a 60-day national action plan focused on eight areas that make it easier to register businesses, obtain construction permits, get credit, pay taxes, get electricity, trade across borders, facilitate entry and exit of people and register property.

 

“The evidence coming from the business community itself is that these changes are becoming manifest such as the electronic visa on arrival process and faster business registration".

5. N-Power empowering thousands.

The Vice President said the administration’s social investment programs have picked up steam too.

“The N-Power programme for unemployed graduates has employed 200,000 young people with another 300,000 set to be recruited.

 

“With regard to the Home Grown School Feeding Programme, about 3 million children across 14 States are participating in the programme with the numbers expected to ramp up as it begins to cover 21 States in this new academic session.  The GEEP programme which gives credit to MSMEs is also growing quite rapidly”.

6. Interest rates still too high? Don’t worry.

The Buhari administration says it’s aware of complaints bordering on sky-high interest rates and how that’s killing plenty of businesses.

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“We are concerned as most of you are, with the very high interest rates and of course most of that have to do with government borrowing. Since the evidence points to a crowding out of the private sector, the Federal Government is reducing its demand for domestic paper and will seek to refinance maturing domestic debt with longer tenor and cheaper external borrowing”.

7. There’s now plenty of oil to play with again.

According to Osinbajo: “Another issue of great concern last year that has been resolved was the loss of a significant amount of oil production.  At some stage last year, we were losing up to one million barrels a day of crude oil production but thanks to the series of engagements we had with stakeholders in the Niger Delta on the New Vision for that region, production has been restored to nearly 2 million barrels per day.

 

“At the same time, the debt overhang preventing required additional investments in the oil sector has been addressed through the plan to pay off Joint Venture cash call arrears. There is renewed confidence in the sector and we are already seeing significant investments".

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Curated: Meets Media.ng

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