If Not for Militants Nigeria wouldn’t Be In a Recession- Osinbajo

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VP Yemi Osinbajo

The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday reaffirmed the role of the private sector in the economic recovery programme of the Federal Government.

He gave the indication at the Presidential Quarterly Business Forum with the private sector held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

“Let me point out that there is no question at all that the private sector is crucial,’’ he said.

Osinbajo said the Federal Government would continue to work with the private sector in all aspects of the economy, being the engine of development.

The Vice President said that the engagement was to focus on game-changing models which would make huge difference in the economy.

He mentioned the up-coming 650,000 barrels per day Dangote Refinery as an example.

“If Dangote Refinery comes on stream by 2018, that would significantly affect the economy.

“About 30 per cent of our foreign exchange outlay today is on importation of PMS (Premium Motor Spirit).

“If we can deal with that 30 per cent, obviously there will be less pressure on our foreign exchange reserve,’’ he said.

He said that the sub-sea pipeline being constructed would take care of the vandalism of pipelines, while the Indorama Sorghum plant and other private sector projects would help the economic recovery.

Osinbajo said the nature of the recession in the country should be understood by everyone, adding that the country started to experience recession because of the activities of oil and gas vandals.

He said that the U.S. recession in 1931, which became a depression, happened when the country was over producing in manufacturing and agriculture with high capacity in railways.

“In our own case, it is completely different. If we did not have the vandalism of pipelines in the Niger Delta, we probably would not have entered into recession by now.

“There is no place anywhere in the world where you can lose one million barrels per day in oil production when you are projecting 2.2 million barrels per day and you would not suffer tremendously.

“It becomes so, especially when that same revenue is what drives your non-oil revenues,’’ Osinbajo said.

He advised that the country should look for solutions that were peculiar to its circumstances.

“We have to look at what problems that we have and try to focus on some solutions that can come from there.

The Vice President said the Federal Government was engaging the Niger Delta stakeholders already to find a way out of the ugly situation.

He said the youth were also being carried along in the recovery programme, adding that recently the Federal Government organised technology innovation competition involving no fewer than 4,000 youths nationwide.

Osinbajo said that the competition culminated in the Aso Villa Demo Day by bringing youths with cutting-edge technology to reshape the economy.

He said the government planned to establish six technology hubs in the six geo-political zones as well as Lagos and Abuja.

The Vice President said 65,000 youths would be engaged and trained in various aspects of technology with special focus on animation industry which had great potential for job creation.

According to him, 5,000 teacher-volunteer-corps being put in place will be largely technology-driven as the people will be trained online and given devices to teach and work as farm extension and public health officials.

“We are completely committed to ensuring that young people are going to be part of what is going on and we think that we simply cannot ignore them,’’ he said.

Osinbanjo reacted to the concern on power supply, saying that as at February 2016, the country reached 5,000 megawatts but it dropped shortly due to the vandalism in Forcados in Delta.

“Through vandalism, we lost 40 per cent of our gas supply which meant a crash in actual production of gas.

“We expect that very shortly, we will be able to come back to that point with some of the gas initiatives here and there,’’ he said.

The Vice President acknowledged that the entire oil and gas industry had a lot of challenges which must be cleaned up for optimum gains.

He, however, said there was need for structural and revolutionary changes which would in no distant future bring back power supply to where it should be.

Osinbajo said government was not unmindful of the tension in the monetary policies and would ensure that all relevant agencies would collaborate to reduce the financial hardships.

He also said that execution was key in all the plans, adding that the Federal Government was working hard to ensure it was able to execute programmes.

The Vice President said that the proposal for reducing the time of doing business was uppermost in the government’s agenda.

He said that while some legislative changes were needed, others required attitudinal changes of individuals and organisations.

Osinbajo said the administration was very committed to deliver on many of its promises by working through the challenges day by day. (NAN)

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