Friday, August 5, 2016 1:17 am
The Federal Government on Thursday urged the Organised Private Sector (OPS) to complement its efforts toward diversifying the nation’s economy.
Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, made the plea at a stakeholder’s consultative forum on the 2017-2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) in Lagos.
Udoma, who spoke on the 2017-2019 MTEF and Fiscal Strategy, enjoined the OPS to collaborate with the federal government in bringing the needed economic change.
The minister said the forum became necessary to create “a citizens guide to understanding the Federal Government’s economic policy and the 2016 budget’’.
According to him, the Federal Government is interested in communicating its plans, vision and strategy in diversifying the economy with the OPS to get their input and advice.
Udoma also said the Federal Government needed the support of the OPS in creating positive economic vibes that would attract investors to the country.
He noted that the government was ready to offer support to the OPS in creating the enabling atmosphere for businesses to thrive.
The minister explained that the OPS could leverage on the sincerity of government to project the country in good light among critical industry players globally.
“The government is willing to encourage and support the OPS in partnering with it to grow the economy.
“We need your help and support in building a robust economy.
“The Federal Government is aware of the challenges in the economy and it believes that working together with the OPS, the economy can get better and bigger.
“Success depends on the quality of support we can get from the OPS,’’ Udoma said.
The minister urged the OPS to take advantage of the opportunities to invest in production, agriculture, solid minerals, and manufacturing sectors.
He added that these would help to generate foreign exchange through the exports of goods and services.
Contributing, Mr Albert Okumagba, the Group Managing Director, BGL Group, commended the government’s initiative in facilitating the meeting.
Okumagba, however, said that the hike in the lending rate by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) would stifle the economy.
According to him, no nation can afford to increase its lending rate in a recession.
“We can plan for a double digit rate by lowering the interest rate.
“We cannot create mortgages for 15 to 20 years with 14 per cent interest rate,’’ he said.
The event attracted critical stakeholders in the OPS, captains of industries, development partners, government officials and the media. (NAN)