The drop in oil prices not withstanding, Nigeria has everything it needs to build and sustain a vibrant economy, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said.
“This country has practically what it takes to run a solid economy that is not dependent on oil, but on business and commerce,” the Vice President said Monday during a meeting with a group of international investors looking to invest in the country in the light of the new administration.
According to Mr. Osinbajo, the President already directed that a conducive environment be created for business investments in the country, adding that work had already started with government looking at the different aspects involved.
The Vice President, alongside the Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment, Okey Enelamah, had held a meeting earlier Monday with the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Ranking Team, where issues were laid out and specific lines of action identified on how to improve the business climate in the country.
At the the interactive session with visiting global investors, drawn from companies such as Renaissance Capital, Russia-China Investment Fund, China Africa Development Fund, Invest Abu Dhabi, Actis, Emerging Capital Partners, ECP, KKR & Co. LP, Old Mutual of South Africa, among others, Vice President Osinbajo explained that working with state governments and the Buhari presidency would ensure that issues such as pre-investment approvals, and acquisition of land titles would be reformed to ease investment in the country.
He said where necessary, government would reduce or merge agencies involved in granting approvals, thereby creating space for businesses to thrive.
Regarding the critical role of electricity in creating a conducive business environment, the Vice President stated that while the federal government would be making further investments in the sector, the entire power value chain would have to be well compensated in order to produce the needed results.
Prof. Osinbajo also restated the commitment of the Buhari administration to creating jobs through businesses and direct action of the government to engage the youths.
He said the 500,000 teaching positions for unemployed graduates worked into the 2016 budget is a means of engaging the youths in paid voluntary occupations in their communities until such a time they can find jobs in their different disciplines. Besides, he noted that the programme would also address the critical need for teachers in the public school system.
He also said the federal government would create opportunity for about 370,000 youths who are not graduates to receive vocational training and acquire skills, while one million artisans and market women would receive soft loans through the Bank of Industry as already proposed in the 2016 budget.
A former Minister of National Planning, Shamsudeen Usman, led the delegation of international investors, while Rachid Benmessoud, the Nigeria Country Director of the World Bank led the bank’s Ease of Doing Business Ranking Team’s visit to the Vice President.