Nigeria’s economy can’t grow without public, private sector collaboration, says Obasanjo
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has declared that the country cannot grow, unless there is collaboration between the public and private sectors.He disclosed this yesterday when members of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) visited him at his Presidential Library, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
The National President of NACCIMA, Iyalode Alaba Lawson, led the team.Obasanjo explained that the collaboration between the two sectors would lead to improved and innovative delivery of services through informed policy formulation.He added that both sectors need each other to move the wheel of development forward.
According to him, he made use of this synergy during his administration and it paid off, especially in getting the formula that led to cement being produced and exported to other countries.Obasanjo commended the NACCIMA executive for its visionary leadership in deploying Information Communication Technology (ICT) to collate the database of all the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country.
He said: “This is the digital age and the public sector must brace up to acquire the necessary information technology skills to survive in the modern world of telecommunications.
“The private and public sectors must work closely together. Where it is necessary, the public should invite the private, and the private should work with the public.”Obasanjo said the symbiotic relationship between the public and private sectors must be strengthened to make the civil servants and public officers to be ICT compliant.
“During my administration, I invited a major importer of cement and asked him why we couldn’t become producers and exporters. “From the answers he gave, I told the Minister of Industry to further look into them, and this led to the formulation of the policy on cement. Twelve years after, cement is not only being produced here, it is being exported to other countries. That is the kind of synergy I am talking about,” he said.Obasanjo enjoined NACCIMA to empower the youths and women, and select other infrastructures in the economy to proffer solutions to the challenges.
According to the ex-president: “If you empower a woman, you have empowered a whole family, and when a woman earns money, she uses it to take care of her children, unlike her male counterparts.”
The NACCIMA president commended Obasanjo for working with the organised private sector and nurturing it to its current position as the engine for growth and development of the economy.She narrated NACCIMA’s relevance to economic growth through the contributions of its past leaders.He gave such leaders as Chief Henry Fajemirokun, Sir Odumegwu Ojukwu, Alhaji Dantata and Chief Adeyemi Lawson.
She added that the current members had also been major players in the country’s economy.Lawson disclosed that the body supported the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (EGRP) and had worked closely with respective arms of government in its implementation stage.
She expressed concern that the economy was still exposed to external shocks, because it was still largely imports dependent.She said: “NACCIMA counsels that the government should re-intensify its efforts in the implementation of policies as articulated under the EGRP.She canvassed special attention to align monetary and fiscal policies, which must be sustained significantly to improve productivity in the agricultural, power and mining sectors.
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