By Akpandem James, Special Adviser (Media) to the Minister of Budget and National Planning.
Arrangements have been finalised for this year’s Nigerian Economic Summit (NES 24) which holds in Abuja on October 22 and 23, with focus on good governance as a path to sustainable human and economic development. The aim is to work towards achieving the goals of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma who briefed media professionals in Abuja on Tuesday, on plans for the 24th edition of the Summit, announced that this year’s theme is “Poverty to Prosperity: Making Governance and Institutions to work”.
He pointed out that the ERGP is a carefully articulated medium-term plan specifically tailored to restore the economy on the path of diversified, inclusive and sustained growth, which recognizes that execution priorities must be underpinned by a focus on governance and delivery to realize its objectives.
“Indeed, the ERGP sets out clearly that good governance at all levels is crucial for the success of the Plan”, and “it is in this context that the Plan maps out strategies to improve governance by entrenching transparency and fighting corruption, reinforcing security, reforming the public service, and strengthening coordination with sub-national governments”, he stressed.
Recalling the theme of last year’s Summit – “Opportunities, Productivity and Employment: Actualizing the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan”, the Minister said that Summit was out to get stakeholder commitment to the structural and fiscal changes required to link policy to economic opportunities, skills and competencies that deliver them so as to achieve the aims of the ERGP.
The outcome of that Summit, according to him, inspired the focus of this year’s outing, noting that government has continued to implement the various strategies outlined in the ERGP and the outcomes of the Economic Summits towards enhancing good governance and strengthening of institutions; the results of which he said are encouraging.
Enumerating the steps taken so far, the Minister said Government has sustained the fight against corruption and security has also been enhanced across the country to tackle all forms of criminal activities including kidnapping and terrorism; while reforms have been introduced to reduce the cost of governance, promote transparency in the management of public resources, block leakages, raise productivity and ensure value for money.
Others include efforts at moving the people from poverty to prosperity, creating employment and empowerment opportunities, combating hunger, improving health and educational infrastructure, enhancing transport and power infrastructure, among others, the Minister said this year’s gathering is designed to accelerate progress towards the implementation of the governance component of the ERGP. “The ultimate goal is to stimulate discussions on accelerating implementation of ERGP strategies on governance in order to enhance the social welfare of the Nigerian people”, he stated.
The Minister pointed out that it was against this background that the Summit is structured along five key thematic areas of:
- Corruption and Rule of Law
- Effective Public Institutions
- Sustainable Economic Opportunities
- Human Development
- Participation and Citizens’ Rights
Discussion around the sub themes, the Minister explained, will be driven by identified indicators most of which are drawn from the Ibrahim Index for African Governance (IIAG), an internationally accepted measure of good governance; and will seek to underscore the link between good governance and economic growth and development as set out in the ERGP; as well as highlight the current state of governance and the challenges in delivering public services to the citizens. This is aimed at identifying ways to overcome those challenges.
As with past Summits, this year’s edition will be anchored on Plenary and Breakout Sessions. “This year, we have mainstreamed feedback from past Summits to restructure the formats of the sessions to be more robust, incisive, intense and solutions-based” he pointed out.
The Minister was particularly pleased that the Startup Pitching Events which was introduced into the Summit programme last year to connect startups registered in Nigeria, as a platform for creating and expanding opportunities in the country, is already gaining traction.
“I am pleased to note that more than 745 startups have already submitted their applications through the applications portal which was opened on the 1st of August, 2018. Eight selected startups will be invited to pitch in front of venture capitalists and angel investors”, he revealed.
He was confident that this year’s Summit will present a good opportunity for discussion among leaders and citizens to deepen civic engagement on how to accelerate the achievement of the governance component of the ERGP.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), Mr ‘Laoye Jaiyeola, expressed the appreciation to the Federal Government for the collaboration that has seen the hosting of the Summit for the past 24 years.
The Nigerian Economic Summit is organized annually by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) in collaboration with the Federal Government of Nigeria, represented by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning. It is a forum for dialogue amongst top policy makers and corporate leaders.
It brings together government officials, representatives of the private sector, development partners, the civil society and some members of academia to reflect on issues constraining Nigeria’s national development, with the aim of building consensus so as to evolve common strategies and policy frameworks for addressing the issues.