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Gowon calls for review of Nigeria’s structures at Punuka lectures




Former military head of state, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd) yesterday said it has become imperative to review the nation’s entire structures.

The former military leader stated this in his keynote address as the special guest of honour in this year’s Punuka Yearly Lecture organised by the Punuka Attorneys and Solicitors at the Metropolitan Club, Lagos.

The theme of the lecture was “The challenges of balancing the need for protection of developing economies and the provision of enabling environment for foreign investment.”

Gowon said: “A perennial difficulty for economic advisors of governments at all tiers has been balancing the competing interests of the indigenous industry and those of foreign companies seeking to do business in Nigeria.

“On one hand, one has to decide whether to promulgate primarily protectionist policies that are aimed at cushioning Nigerian local companies from incursion by foreign multinational companies. With this type of strategy, one predominantly sees policies targeted at promoting exports and discouraging imports, tax incentives and tax holidays for indigenous companies.”

Earlier in his welcome address, the senior partner of the firm, Chief Anthony Idigbe (SAN) said the choice of the theme for the lecture was influenced by the current social-economic crisis that Nigeria is facing.

“We decided to take on a topic that is not only a source of great debate and controversy, but out of which we believe strategies for positive change in development of our great nation can be conceived”, he stated.

A professor of Trade and Investment at the Harvard University, USA, Robert Lawrence, delivered the lecture. Lawrence observed that the key to being wealthy is to increase productivity in the workplace.

He called on Nigeria’s head of state to convoke a conference and identify the highest supply chain in the world and ask them what they would need to operate in the country.

In his contribution, the immediate past chairman of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa advocated the application of more incentives in order to encourage local production.

He said: “We need to apply incentives to create competitiveness. It is not going to be in our own interest to create an economy that is under lock and key. Let us look at what we are good at and sell it to the world and take what they are good in. That is what China, Japan and Korea have done.”

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