Why pri­vate sec­tor can’t be in eco­nomic team – Pres­i­dency

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE - By Isi­aka Wak­ili

The Pres­i­dency says pri­vate sec­tor play­ers will not be mem­bers of the Na­tional Eco­nomic Man­age­ment Team (NEMT) un­der the ad­min­is­tra­tion of Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari.

The eco­nomic team, headed by Vice Pres­i­dent Yemi Os­in­bajo, is the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s think-thank re­spon­si­ble for the for­mu­la­tion of the na­tion’s eco­nomic pol­icy di­rec­tion.

The Se­nior Spe­cial As­sis­tant to the Vice Pres­i­dent on Me­dia and Pub­lic­ity, Laolu Akande, yes­ter­day said the Pres­i­dency con­sid­ered the man­age­ment of the econ­omy a gov­ern­ment re­spon­si­bil­ity.

“It’s not some­thing that this gov­ern­ment be­lieves should be done by bring­ing in some of the pri­vate in­ter­ests into the eco­nomic team to take a de­ci­sion that they’ll be di­rectly in­volved with. So, our stand is that the man­age­ment of the econ­omy is a gov­ern­ment re­spon­si­bil­ity,” Akande said in an in­ter­view with jour­nal­ists.

Akande, who said the eco­nomic team had been con­stantly en­gag­ing rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers, added: “The team has been able to set out be­fore the bud­get try­ing to fig­ure out what the bud­get ought to fo­cus on. Af­ter the bud­get was pre­sented and even­tu­ally signed, there was also the pub­li­ca­tion of the strate­gic im­ple­men­ta­tion plan which was produced in a read­er­friendly for­mat.

“All of th­ese are the out­comes of what the eco­nomic man­age­ment team does and it’s also in the team that you’ve the heap of the whole phys­i­cal and mone­tary poli­cies. The team meets ev­ery Mon­day and makes pro­pos­als and sug­ges­tions to the pres­i­dent. But then, the team is ac­tu­ally like an ad­hoc com­mit­tee of the Fed­eral Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil, and that’s why we don’t throw a lot of me­dia around it be­cause it’s a com­mit­tee meant to ad­vise Mr. Pres­i­dent.

“So, the team, for in­stance, de­fined six themes around the econ­omy and used that to build the bud­get and re­flate the econ­omy. The first is pol­icy, gov­er­nance and se­cu­rity in­clud­ing en­sur­ing a sta­ble and pre­dictable cur­rency ex­change rate and se­cur­ing the na­tion. The sec­ond one is di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion which in­cludes achiev­ing tar­geted self suf­fi­ciency in agri­cul­ture pro­duce and in­creas­ing pri­vate sec­tor in­vest­ments.

“The third is in­fra­struc­ture devel­op­ment which in­cludes the com­ple­tion of sev­eral NIPPs, the Lagos -Cal­abar coastal rail­way, among oth­ers. Oil and gas re­form is the fourth one and it in­cludes pri­vati­sa­tion of re­finer­ies and en­sur­ing gas avail­abil­ity to power the plants. The ease of do­ing busi­ness is the fifth. The last is the so­cial investment meant to as­suage un­em­ploy­ment pains, devel­op­ment of hu­man ca­pac­ity, im­prove school en­rol­ment,” he said.

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