President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is making specific efforts to enable the private sector to thrive and develop the economy.
This is according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who said the Federal Government is specifically undertaking extensive ‘ease of doing business’ reforms, in addition to ongoing investment in infrastructure.
Professor Osinbajo stated this today (Monday) at the Financial Times Africa Summit in London, where he informed a global audience – made up of international business leaders, investors, public sector officials, media gurus and intellectuals – that the government has been working assiduously to improve macroeconomic conditions.
“After a continuous slide in growth since 2014, the trend of growth in GDP has turned around with a modest growth of 0.55% in the second quarter of this year while inflation, though still somewhat high, has declined from its peak of 18.7% in January 2017 to about 16% today,” he said in a statement signed by his spokesman, Mr Laolu Akande.
The Vice President said the outlook, going forward, is quite positive based on improvements in oil prices and production, as well as the trend of leading indicators such as positive purchasing managers indices, a revived stock exchange and increasing foreign exchange reserves.
He highlighted some of the efforts of the Buhari Presidency in agriculture and power and drew attention to the significant progress achieved in the ‘ease of doing business’ initiative of the Federal Government.
Professor Osinbajo said further: “In the first stage, reforms were introduced 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.
“Practical examples of success include leveraging the use of technology to fast track business registration and payment of taxes, a functioning, tried and tested 48-hour electronic visa procedure, and an Executive Order mandating greater transparency and efficiency across all government agencies. The reforms have led to reduction in cost and time, as well as greater transparency for small and medium-sized enterprises in particular.
“Following the 70% success rate achieved in the first phase of the ease of doing business reforms, we recently embarked on a second national action plan which will have 11 areas of focus and will run for 60 days from October 2017.”
The Vice President said Nigeria is an investor’s delight because of the opportunities which its economy offers, specifically stressing that “the opportunities are enormous indeed.”
He added that the Buhari administration is “nevertheless determined and optimistic that Nigeria will along with the rest of the continent bring about an Africa that works for all its people and contributes to global growth and prosperity.”
In his keynote address at the summit, Osinbajo observed that the theme ‘What Makes Africa Work’, is appropriate and remarked that with Africa’s experience in the past few years, it is clear that “what makes Africa work, is what makes economies work anywhere.”
He listed them to include “honest visionary leadership and good governance, letting the private sector and markets lead, diversification from resource-based revenues, developing the potential of the human resources available.”
The Vice President also believes the continent “can demonstrate with clear examples that what makes Africa work are the ingenuity and resilience of the people, especially its 70% youth population, leadership and good governance, allowing the private sector and markets to function, focusing on infrastructural development, and the incredible opportunities that abound.”
The summit was also attended by a number of Nigerian dignitaries including the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed; Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State; Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi II; Mr Aliko Dangote and Mr Yemi Cardoso among others.