Why I ex­cluded pri­vate sec­tor from eco­nomic team – Buhari

Daily Trust - - NEWS - By Isi­aka Wak­ili

Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari says he ex­cluded pri­vate sec­tor play­ers from his ad­min­is­tra­tion’s eco­nomic man­age­ment team in or­der to pre­vent them from steer­ing govern­ment poli­cies to suit their own “nar­row in­ter­ests.”

In his re­sponse to those ac­cus­ing him of not hav­ing an eco­nomic man­age­ment team, Buhari said he al­ready had one headed by his deputy, Pro­fes­sor Yemi Os­in­bajo.

The Se­nior Spe­cial As­sis­tant to the Vice Pres­i­dent on Me­dia and Pub­lic­ity, Mr Laolu Akande, quoted Buhari as say­ing this in an ex­clu­sive in­terview in The In­terview mag­a­zine.

Akande made the ex­cerpts from the in­terview avail­able to State House cor­re­spon­dents yesterday.

The pres­i­dent said while his govern­ment would still lis­ten to ev­ery­one, it was averse to mak­ing pri­vate sec­tor in­di­vid­u­als mem­bers of the Na­tional Eco­nomic Man­age­ment Team (NEMT).

“We will lis­ten to ev­ery­body, but we are averse to eco­nomic teams whose pri­vate sec­tor mem­bers fre­quently steer govern­ment pol­icy to suit their own nar­row in­ter­ests rather than the over-all na­tional in­ter­est,” he said.

Asked if he thought he needed an eco­nomic man­age­ment hav­ing been crit­i­cised for not hav­ing one, Buhari re­sponded: “What do they mean by team? The vice pres­i­dent heads our eco­nomic man­age­ment team.

“You have a fi­nance min­is­ter, a bud­get and plan­ning min­is­ter, a min­is­ter for in­dus­try, trade and in­vest­ments, a gover­nor of the Cen­tral Bank, a na­tional eco­nomic ad­viser and oth­ers. Yet, some still ask for a team. I don’t know how they de­fine the word team,” he added.

The vice pres­i­dent’s spokesman re­called that the Pres­i­dency had dis­closed sev­eral times that an eco­nomic man­age­ment team ex­isted and met at least once a week.

He said the team played a lead­ing role in the bud­get­ing process and de­signed the strate­gic im­ple­men­ta­tion doc­u­ment once the fis­cal doc­u­ment was passed and signed into law.

He said though the Buhari ad­min­is­tra­tion was averse to in­ter­ested pri­vate sec­tor mem­bers, its eco­nomic team reg­u­larly con­sulted with dif­fer­ent rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the pri­vate sec­tor and other stake­hold­ers.

Buhari was also quoted as un­veil­ing his wish list in the in­terview thus: “One, we will truly change the way we do things in Nige­ria, therein lies the fu­ture of our coun­try as a great en­tity. Two, a fully di­ver­si­fied Nige­rian econ­omy no longer de­pen­dent on oil only, three, a Nige­ria where ev­ery Naira that comes into the trea­sury is used for the good of the peo­ple, par­tic­u­larly the or­di­nary peo­ple.”

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