Kachikwu advocates five-year timeline for Nigeria economic turnaround

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The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, on Wednesday proposed a five-year timeline for Nigeria to prepare to transform its local resource and economic base to actively play in the globally arena.


Also, the minister said Nigeria must begin “a conscious effort to identify key areas of the economy it has the most competitive advantage and strengthen them to withstand the challenge of global competition.”

Mr. Kachikwu spoke at the 6th Sustainability in the Extractive Industries, SITEI, conference in Abuja, on the theme: “Establishing the framework for globalising our local economy.”

He said the government must seriously look at Nigeria first, by implementing policies to encourage Nigerian companies to give them the competitive edge against their counterparts in Africa and around the world.

“Free trade and free world are no new concepts. Every country always strives to protect its own. We must begin to seriously look at Nigeria first. We must change the attitude of vilifying fellow citizens and ensure those using their resources to promote the country’s economy were recognized, incentivized, and supported.

“We must encourage those Nigerians who put their monies to develop the country’s economy, rather than take them to invest abroad. We must find a way to make things easier for people like Aliko Dangote and Mike Adenuga who have done well in putting back into the economy,” he said.

The minister underlined the need for products specialization, by identifying areas the country has the most competitive advantage, like oil and gas, petrochemicals, mining, agriculture, and services.

To enable these sectors face the challenges of competition in their areas of business, Mr. Kachikwu said the government should consider policies over the next five years to guarantee they were sufficiently financed and strengthened.

Nigeria, he said, can never be an economic power house in Africa and the world without a vibrant local economy and defined industrial base.

Again, he noted that a nation without a solid manufacturing base was a sure way to maintain dependency and waste of resources.

He identified the key areas of focus to create a conducive business atmosphere for Nigeria to transform its local economy to attract global investors and players.

Apart from bridging the infrastructure gaps, by driving cost to the lowest level, while promote ease of doing business, the minister said security was paramount, to ensure stability and high productivity.

“There an absolute urgency for government to begin to address the challenge of infrastructure in our economy. We must create a Marshall Plan to replace decaying infrastructure, like the refinery. Although Nigeria is one of the major OPEC producers, we are still importing the bulk of our petroleum product needs,” he said.

He underlined the need for some legislations to enforce local content policies in the oil and gas sector, to retain more money in the local economy and reduce capital flight.

In developing infrastructural facilities, he said government should insist on work done in Nigeria, to ensure more fabrication yards were established in-country, boost Nigeria’s industrial sector, reduce production cost, and maximize government revenue.

To facilitate infrastructure financing and proper repositioning of the economy, Mr. Kachikwu emphasized the strengthening of the capital market and the financial systems Investors to make it for investors to raise funding.

He supported the ongoing development of five oil and gas parks, in addition to a gas revolution park, saying necessary incentives, like tax holidays, must granted, to transform the establishments into centres of production and investment excellence.

Besides, he added that “focus must be given to developing financial institutions, like Infrastructure Bank, Bank of Industries and Agricultural Bank. We need to create the right fiscal incentives, in the form of tax holidays, duty waivers, or select areas you need to position the local economy from external competition.”

On security, he said over the next five years, the government should invest in resolving security issues through regional and state police as well as border protection, particularly with the challenge of the country’s porous borders.

The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, Waziri Adio, emphasised the need to update local processes to build the capacity to compete globally.

“We need to realise that we operate in a competitive economy. We need to exploit the advantages we have to maximise our potentials. We must be transparent and competitive to capture on a sustainable basis whatever market we want to play in,” Mr. Adio said.

Source: Premium Times

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