The task before the current leadership of the Federal Government is to clean up the mess that corruption has brought on the nation and rebuild institutions that have been so ravaged, according to President Muhammadu Buhari.
In a speech declared at the opening of the 21st Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja earlier today, the President represented by Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, said Nigeria is in a time of monumental challenges.
Said he, “we are at a time of monumental challenges and tough choices, but also a time of incredible opportunities for achieving competitiveness, inclusive growth and sustainability.’’
Continuing, he said ‘’we as a government are called upon to make tough choices in exchange control restrictions, altering the absurd recurrent to capital expenditure ratio, reducing the deficit and reducing the overall size of governance. We are called upon to clean up the mess and rebuild the institutions that corruption has ravaged over the years’’ the President submitted.
Speaking against the backdrop of the theme of the Summit titled ‘’Tough Choices: Achieving Competitiveness, Inclusive Growth And Sustainability’’, President Buhari disclosed that his administration would be built on an economic model which would involve substantial social investment over the next three years.
‘’ We are compelled to redress the paradox of high growth figures and widening inequality, rising unemployment and poverty. It is evident that any economic model that leaves nearly half of the citizenry behind requires re-thinking.’’
He added ‘’ this is why our economic model would involve substantial social investments over the next three years’’.
Speaking during the Presidential Policy Dialogue, the Vice President expressed the conviction that with programmes such as the Conditional Cash Transfer and renewed support for MSMEs, government would generate employment, address poverty with the hope that these laudable initiatives will greatly reduce social tension and criminality across the country.
Osinbajo fielded questions during the Presidential Policy Dialogue on ‘’Tackling Corruption, Insecurity and Economic Competitiveness’’, explaining that social investment had become imperative if government must impact the lives of the people as against what happened in the past where economic growth figures do not correlate to the lives of the vast majority of citizens.
On the agenda of the Buhari administration for tackling corruption, Prof. Osinbajo opined that exemplary leadership is fundamental to any meaningful fight against corruption, noting that mere lip service to the war against corruption had not yielded any positive results so far.
‘’The people want to see leadership itself exemplifying that conduct first, before you are able to say anything to others. For us, the starting point is to have a leadership with the kind of conduct that is expected from the people. That’s why we think an open and a transparent government is important’’, the Vice President reasoned.
Emphasizing on the importance of the judiciary in the fight against corruption, the Vice President said the judiciary as an independent arm of government has also committed to judicial reform. He commended the present leadership of the judiciary for being serious about the fight against corruption.
Prof. Osinbajo had earlier commended the leadership of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) for being steadfast and consistent in providing a national platform to discuss the economy on a regular basis.
The Chairman, Board of the NESG, Mr Kyari Bukar in his welcome address at the opening of the 21st Summit drew attention to the current economic challenges facing the country with emphasis on the imperative to make tough choices in view of the need to achieve competitiveness, inclusive growth and sustainability.
He commended the new administration of President Muhammadu Buhari especially on the prospects of resolving the country’s socio-political problems under the Change Agenda.
Senior Special Assistant (Media & Publicity)
In the Vice President’s Office.