OPINION: ON THE DIVERSIFICATION OF THE ECONOMY

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, has called for more commitment from workers of the ministry to achieve the diversification agenda of the Federal Government. He said the ministry was central to the economic diversification agenda of the government, adding that without the support of the employees, it would be difficult to implement policies of government that would drive growth and reduce the level of unemployment in the country Adebayo disclosed this during a meeting with leaders of the four workers’ unions of the ministry who had resolved their differences and came together as a team to achieve the mandate of the ministry.

A statement from the ministry said the minister reminded the workers that President Muhammadu Buhari gave them a marching order to drive growth, diversify the economy, create jobs and boost export. He said the ultimate aim of these objectives was to lift 100 million people out of poverty in the next 10 years. He added that the ministry was working assiduously towards the direction in achieving that mandate. “Nothing can be achieved if the unions refused to resolve their differences and come together as a team to move the ministry forward,” the statement quoted him to have said. Adebayo, according to the statement, also assured the leaders of the unions of his support and urged them to continue to work together with the new permanent secretary particularly in the area of staff welfare.

He further assured them that the ministry would look into their suggestion on the need to have a resident labour desk officer from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment to assist the management on labour matters. The Minister of State at the ministry, Ambassador Mariam Katagum, challenged them to come up with a strategic vision to achieve the goals of the ministry. She said, “Now that you have a brand new permanent secretary, you should be able to extract whatever you need to help him get motivated to make you happy so that you can contribute your quarter to national development.”

Earlier, Sani-Gwarzo, the Permanent Secretary pledged to put in his best to support the ministers to achieve their agenda for the ministry. He said, “I was told that one of the issues that we are going to face is the union but when I came here, I realised that all of them have one thing in common; they have a sincere mindset to move the ministry forward. “The greatest gift I have received here is your support and the second is the fact that the unions have resolved to work together to support the ministry.”

President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration’s investment in infrastructure like rails, roads, bridges and waterways have started yielding positive results with tangible evidence for all to see. According to the president, the special attention given to infrastructure by his administration will be intensified, since the investments had been justified with more people benefiting. “Infrastructure is vital to economic development. As you are aware, this administration has given special attention to infrastructural transformation of our country. “This is in consonance with the change philosophy of the administration. Such projects and programmes form part of our contribution to national development, which are tangible for all to see,” he said. They will also help in no small measure in the diversification agenda and process of the present administration.

Recalled that, President Muhammadu Buhari has said that his administration saves the nation about N25 billion monthly. President Buhari stated this, in Jos, at the graduation ceremony of Senior Executive Course 39 of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) Kuru, Plateau state. Represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Buhari said his government was able to achieve this through the stoppage of unnecessary allowances for government officials and blockage of other financial leakages in all its agencies. The president also scored his government high saying the administration has effectively tackled corruption, adding that said the government will not relent in its fight against graft. The vice president said the ongoing elementary school feeding programme has targeted 5.5 million children to be captured in 19 states before the end of the administration’s tenure. He also said the challenges being faced concerning power supply in Nigeria will soon be history. He urged authorizes of NIPSS to improve on recommendations made by its participants while discussing national economic development. He assured that the federal government would make “good use of recommendations of the course participants on agriculture.”

Also, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration recorded laudable achievements, in spite of terrible economic downturn and an empty purse foisted on it. The minister said this at the inauguration of a book chronicling the administration’s achievements in Abuja. The minister said through a commitment to discipline, determination and transparency, the administration recorded landmark achievements that we’re putting our country on the path of sustainable growth.

This government is committed to prudently managing and stopping waste and leakages in the system, there will be no room for duplication of offices and responsibility; the Buhari led government has shown that it is its desire that everybody benefits from the goodies that the change mantra will bring to the country and not just a few people.

The Buhari led government has been working round the clock to ensure that the suffering of Nigerians are assuaged and ameliorated, by laying a solid foundation for a greater and better tomorrow. The campaign of calumny against the government of President Buhari has been largely predicated on ethnicity and tribal particularism as well as politics of vendetta, especially by the opposition party that roundly defeated at the polls after many years of misrule, bad governance and monumental fraud. The other point which cannot be waved aside is the fact that one of the cardinal policies of this administration is the war against corruption, and since this government came on board, never like before, it has consistently waged relentless war against graft in the country; and the high and mighty are not spared; now in a surreptitious manner, corruption is fighting back in a very dirty and desperate manner.

It is germane to observe and rightly so that, since the present administration came on board under the leadership and watch of President Muhammadu Buhari, the president and his team has worked relentlessly to bail out the economy from the recession in which it is presently enmeshed, an economic situation which is self-inflicted as a result of bad governance, mismanagement, corruption and apparent lack of accountability of past leaders in the country. They dissipated the scarce financial resources of the country on conspicuous consumption as well as hedonistic and epicurean lifestyles; and refused to save for the raining day. It is this multifaceted errors of the past that the present government is trying to put right, unfortunately, the present government has been severally criticized by those who created the economic challenges in the first place, particularly members of the past administration, who mercilessly plunder and pillage the resources of the country on selfish individual desires, thereby neglecting vast majority of the people. With the body language and mannerism of some members of the present administration, it is obvious that they are not on the same page with the president in truly salvaging the country from economic ruination and quagmire. For instance, members of the national assembly, with all their economic preachments and sanctimonious claims, they have rapaciously refused to cut down on their illegal and immoral fat salaries and allowances, yet, they want Nigerians to make sacrifices, while they feed fat on the sweat and toil of Nigerians. As the government is working hard to resolve the fundamental economic contradictions with the economy, people who have illegitimately enriched themselves by pilfering the national treasury and are presently undergoing trials, are clandestinely sponsoring violence against the Nigerian state and painting the country black in both local and international media.

This is contrary to some spurious and erroneous claims in some quarters that this government is idle and doing nothing about the socio-economic miasma in which the country is presently enmeshed, unfortunately, this unfounded and baseless claim is gaining currency because of the hardship Nigerians are presently going through. Those who created these problems are now behaving like the much-needed messiah to rescue the country from this crisis, but what did they do for the country and the people in the last 16 years? The gang-up and conspiracy against the Buhari led government is because of the anti-corruption crusade of the present administration, hence, their inability to make cheap money and fleece the country of funds needed for development. Undoubtedly, this government is working hard and even world leaders know this fact, hence the need for all Nigerians to rally round the government and move the country forward; and stop the issue of violence, blackmail, vendetta, corruption and anything that can inhibit growth and development in the polity.

It is imperative to underscore the fact that, the immediate past President Barrack Obama of the US said, his government has confidence in the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, the US leader said this during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 71st edition of the UN General Assembly. Obama described Buhari as a man of “integrity and honesty,” and said his administration would assist Nigeria within the short period it has left. The 44th president of the US will be bowing out of office in January after serving two terms. “We have confidence in your leadership. There are some difficulties you face, but this administration is willing to assist in the short time we have left,” “You have made real progress in defeating the brutal organization called Boko Haram, and that was achieved because of your leadership.” Obama also offered a hand of fellowship to Nigeria “in the final and comprehensive defeat of Boko Haram, resolution of the Niger Delta crisis, which would help ramp up oil production and increase revenue, resolving the humanitarian crisis in the North East, recovering stolen money, and revamping the economy”. He described Nigeria as a big and important country in sub-Saharan Africa and said his country looked forward to a framework for sustained partnership between the two nations. Earlier, Buhari assured Obama of the progress of his administration, and the efforts being taken towards resolving the economic crisis. And, President Donald Trump has said that much too.

In the same vein, Mr. Ban Ki Moon, former United Nations Secretary-General not too long ago congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari on the anti-corruption war. Ki-Moon declared: “You are highly respected by world leaders, including myself. Your persona has given your country a positive image.” The United Nations’ scribe stated that the global body recognized President Buhari’s government’s achievements against the Boko Haram insurgents. He, however, urged that human rights be upheld always in order to prevent a repeat of the scenario being witnessed in Syria. Ki-moon also thanked the Nigerian leader for his commitment to issues on climate change, adding that the government should “own the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” for the good of its citizens.

Therefore, the present administration in the country should be commended and not vilified by the people, all that the government needs at the this time is the cooperation, support, solidarity, patience and understanding on the part of the people and anybody or group of people that wants to constitute themselves into a cog in the wheel of progress should be viewed as economic saboteur and should be dealt with, in accordance with the provisions of the law, after all, Nigeria is greater than anybody or group of people, and we should all join hands together and make it great.

The diversification of the economy through huge investment in agriculture throughout the length and breadth of the country; massive infrastructural development and renewal to bridge the array of infrastructural deficit in the country; multilayered fight against all forms of corruption in the polity; prudent management of the economy, growth and development of non-oil sector, huge investments in aviation, tourism, solid minerals, trade, commerce and investment just to mention but a few are avenues and methodologies through which the present administration are restructuring the economic base and dynamics of the country, away from the prevailing and suffocating mono-cultural economic dependency.

 

*** Written by Jide Ayobolu

 

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