Economic summit: FG ready to move Nigerians away from poverty –Minister

Maritime: Increased indigenous participation will boost diversification drive –FG
Senator Udo Udoma

The Federal Government is committed to doing everything possible to move the people of Nigeria away from poverty to prosperity.

That, it was said, would be done through continuous investment in people through its social intervention and other programmes.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, made this known on Monday at the opening of the 24th Nigerian Economic Summit (NES#24) held in Abuja.

He added that the government would also continue to fight corruption in order to make the country’s resources available for development and not diverted for some selfish purposes.

The minister said although the government had been investing in different efforts to improve the quality of lives, he said it would continue to do more and be open to suggestions on fighting poverty.

His words:  “Let me re-iterate that the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari has invested in, and continues to invest in, several initiatives to improve the quality of governance, improve transparency and reduce corruption. We know we still need to do more – and we will continue to listen to suggestions. However, I can assure you that this is a Government that is committed to do whatever is necessary to move our people from ‘Poverty to Prosperity’.

“To achieve this, we will continue to invest in our people. We will continue with our social intervention and other programmes to ensure that no one is left behind. We will continue to fight corruption so as to ensure that resources meant for the development of our people are not diverted for selfish purposes.”

He added that in the course of the summit, the government would have an opportunity for an examination of how far it had gone in implementing the strategies set out for improving governance.

He stressed that the discussion would be carried on along five sub-themes, namely: Corruption and Rule of Law; Effective Public Institutions; Sustainable Economic Opportunities; Participation and Citizens’ Rights; and Human Development.

“It is our expectation that the deliberations that will follow, will come up with useful recommendations in those thematic areas,” he said.

The minister highlighted some of the achievements of the government in its efforts to improve the economy and make life better for the people.

He said through the sector specific Focus Labs held by the government earlier in the year, it had been able to assist Brass Fertilizer and Petrochemical Development Company in obtaining expedited issuance of various approvals that were required by its financiers from multiple government agencies.

He said Brass Fertilizer is a very large, multi-billion-dollar petrochemical plant positioned to be one of the largest consumers of gas in the country within the next five years. If this project succeeds it could create up to 20,000 direct and indirect jobs.

He said government was also able to accelerate the development of a National Gold Development Policy and the establishment of a Federal Gold Reserve Scheme in Nigeria.

“Today, I am happy to report that the first gold refining licence has been issued to a company called Kian Smith Limited, which was one of the companies that participated in the Labs.

“Indeed, the Federal Government is finalizing modalities to purchase gold from local refineries via a Federal Gold Reserve Scheme subject to international standards such as the London Bullion Market Association.

“This accelerated development of the National Gold Development Policy by the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, and the progress recorded in implementing the Federal Gold Reserve Scheme by the Central Bank of Nigeria, are direct solutions to issues presented by investors at the ERGP Focus Labs,” he said.

He added that during the Labs, investors interested in agriculture were assisted to obtain farming land from some state governments.

Udoma said also arising from the Lab process, a local automobile assembly firm in Imo State, Autodex Limited, was being supported to double its capacity for the production of farm tractors.

“This is just to mention a few of the projects arising out of the Focus Labs,” he stated.

According to him, the ERGP Delivery Unit was working hard to advance progress on many other potential projects identified in the Labs.

He said to keep the public informed of progress arising from the Focus Labs, the ERGP Delivery Unit had started producing a monthly newsletter.