5 February 2013

Nigeria: Jonathan - 2014 Budget Will Target Manufacturing Sector

President Goodluck Jonathan Monday said the budget and beyond would be designed to encourage the manufacturing sector for employment generation.

Jonathan said this at the inauguration of the Board of the National Competitive Council of Nigeria (NCCN) at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa in Abuja

The council, which is chaired by the Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga, is charged with the responsibility of, among other things, proposing policies and recommendations that will enhance Nigeria's global competitiveness ranking and revitalise the Nigerian economy.

The 18-member board is also expected to generate policies and programmes that will attract domestic and foreign investment particularly in the manufacturing sector, create sales for local businesses and more markets for products made in Nigeria.

"Government will continue to support private initiatives and encourage private bodies to key into our transformation agenda. We have to commend the private sector for their commitment in setting up this body that will help government and the private sector.

"I wish the pioneer NNCC board every success in this assignment and I have every confidence that you will not let our nation down.

"We believe that without encouraging the private sector, especially the manufacturing sector, we cannot get out of the current economic position no matter how we struggle to produce primary produce, they will not create enough jobs for this country.

"That is why for the next two years and may be beyond 2015, Nigerian budget will be geared towards encouraging manufacturing sector in this country," the President stated.

The president tasked the board to benchmark, monitor and evaluate Nigeria's competitiveness ranking and make viable recommendation that would achieve consensus on policy measures.

He also tasked them to create and release the report on Nigeria's competitiveness to guide Nigeria's development and policy frame work.

He said the board should coordinate local efforts to stimulate competitiveness by communicating and cooperating with stakeholders through hosting of events, seminars and local level conference.

"Let me emphasise that the Federal Government accords great importance to this assignment and will therefore support you to achieve this vital task of improving our country's business environment."

The president said members of the council were selected to serve on the board on account of their proven integrity, unwavering patriotism and uncommon sense of duty.

Responding on behalf of other members, Aganga thanked the president for his foresight and determination to create conducive environment for business to thrive in Nigeria.

He listed the gains of the council to include increase in productivity, expansion of markets for local products, job and wealth creation.

The minister promised that the board would deliver on its mandate.

Aganga, who also addressed the press, said the council's objective "is to enhance Nigeria's competitiveness by proposing policy recommendations that will create an economy that attracts domestic and foreign investments without focusing on, or benefitting any specific interest group or sector."

He said: "The council shall be the focal body responsible for creating awareness on national competitiveness in the country, coordinating the efforts of both the Public and Private Sectors to improve Nigeria's Competitiveness, recommending relevant policies and proactively monitoring and evaluating the progress being made at national and sub-national levels.

"This council shall also liaise with councils of other countries on global competitiveness issues. This will go a long way in developing National Public Policy initiatives to address short, medium and long-term competitiveness issues confronting the country."

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