Osinbajo, others harp on value addition, commodities market development
Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, said Nigeria needed to deepen value addition to aid job creation and growth of the commodities market.
To achieve this, Osinbajo said there was a need to build a resilient and competitive economy that would mitigate and adapt to climate change and relentlessly match the digital economy and fourth industrial revolution. Osinbajo gave the assertion at the 2021 LCCI Presidential Policy Dialogue Organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
According to him, the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic precipitated a global health crisis that triggered socio-economic crises with macro-economic shocks that shrunk the size of the global economy thereby contracting GDP growth, shrinking employment, global oil prices and the hospitality sectors.
Osinbajo said plans were underway to boost supply chains and prioritise the export of goods and diversification of the non-oil sector to strengthen production outcomes and increase the GDP size under the Economic Sustainability Plan.
Speaking on fintech and tech environment, he said technology and tech-enabled businesses would be a major focus in the coming years, adding that the fintech space, despite the global health crisis, had contributed to economic growth and development.
He posited that the right regulatory environment was critical to growing the sector, adding that this would bring together private and public sector partnerships to formulate policies such as banking policies and payment systems to accommodate the new tech enabled players.
He commended the efforts of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in expanding investment space for fintech to support digital and creative sectors while lauding the conceptualisation of the $600 million investment in digital and creative enterprise programmes.
Governor of Lagos, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, lauded the LCCI for its consistency in promoting harmonious relationship between government and the private sector, particularly in the area of ease of doing business.
The governor, represented by the Commissioner, Economic Planning and Budget, Sam Egube, stressed the need to engage collectively to position Nigeria to transform its resources and huge potentials into result to be among the global comity of nations.
Sanwo-Olu said Nigeria must raise commitment levels and harness opportunities offered by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) for global competitiveness.
“COVID-19 transformed business models and processes and we are faced with the necessity to come up with ingenious strategies to ensure the wheels of commerce keeps moving.
“Africa remains at the rung of the ladder in spite of its abundant natural resources and potentials for growth and development but the AfCFTA would position the continent as a global competitor.
“We understand the importance of formulating policies to drive the business community and we are always ready to engage with it at all times,” he said.
He reiterated his administration’s strategic direction to harness public and private sector growth to create jobs, expand social services and provide a conducive environment for businesses to thrive.
LCCI President, Mrs Toki Mabogunje, said the short-term outlook of key economic indicators looked fragile but bright, expressing optimism that recent policy interventions and economic reforms would drive the economy to turn the corner soon.
Mabogunje noted that in spite of several economic disruptions such as insecurity, liquidity crisis, among others, the Nigerian economy had posed strong fundamentals.
“Our natural resources endowments are vast, the sustained rising price of crude oil, the domestic market is large and our people are resourceful and enterprising.
“What is much needed are the enablers as times like these offer tremendous opportunities for innovation, creativity, export growth and import substitution.
“These are the silver linings even as we expect to see the economy navigate an upward curve in its recovery journey,” she said.
The LCCI president charged the government to focus on building a thriving and sustainable economy, enhancing social inclusion and poverty reduction, enlarging agricultural output for food security and attaining energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products.
She also called for the expansion of transport and other infrastructural development, business growth, entrepreneurship and industrialisation, access to quality education, affordable healthcare and productivity and more.
On his part, Group Chairman, Nigeria Exchange Group, Otunba Abimbola Ogunbanjo, said promoting the right policies to advance the private sector, technological advancement and capacity building was critical to driving private sector development.
Ogunbanjo said this was important to assist the country’s recovery from COVID-19 in spite of the resilience it has shown with its exit from recession and current economic growth.