18 April 2014

Nigeria: Yuguda - Over 1,000 Delegates Registered for World Economic Forum

FG reassures participants of security James Emejo The supervising Minister of National Planning (NPC), Mr. Bashir Yuguda, has said over 1,000 delegates from various countries have so far registered for the World Economic Africa (WEF Africa) scheduled to hold in Abuja next month.

Several other high level officials, including heads of state are also expected to attend the programme. The minister said the interest so far shown by delegates reaffirmed the confidence of the international community in Nigeria's capacity to successfully stage a hitch-free conference in spite of the current security challenge facing the nation.

Yuguda, at a press briefing in Abuja, thanked the international community for its implicit confidence in the country and its economy, adding that the federal government is doing its best to protect its citizens and foreigners.

He said:"The government is stepping up security and doing its best in arresting this ugly trend(terrorism). It is not good for us to assume that the issue of security is for government alone; every Nigerian has a role to play and we believe we will soon come out of this problem.

"We want to assure all the delegates coming to the WEF that adequate security has been provided." Last year, in Cape Town, South Africa, Nigeria bided alongside other countries and won the right to host the conference for the first time in Africa.

While commiserating with the families of those effected in Monday's terrorist attack on Nyanya, he said the provision of adequate security for Nigerians and foreigners was top on the government's agenda.

According to him, the Inspector General of Police (IG), Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, will personally chair the security committee for the conference.

Yuguda further stressed that the essence of hosting the conference was to among other things stimulate inclusive growth through job creation, noting that additional foreign direct investment is expected to be secured thereafter.

"The essence of hosting the WEF is in line with the agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan and we are looking at how to create jobs and ensure inclusive growth as we grow the economy. We are hoping that this should be the best WEF ever hosted by Africa. Investors don't always look at only one variable when they are coming to invest in the country.

"Investors only get worried if there are security challenges and the government is not doing anything about it. We are happy that the FDI had been growing and this is a sign of the confidence that investors have in the economy.

"How do we create a conducive environment for the private sector to develop? How do we attract more foreign direct investment? How do we maintain and sustain the economic progress Nigeria is making? These are all our interests which coincide with the aspirations of the World Economic Forum.

"It is instructive that the theme of the forum is on increasing growth and job creation. This is totally in line with what we are trying to do. It is in line with what Mr. President is trying to do on how to make our growth inclusive," the minister added.

He also commended the World Economic Forum for issuing a statement to indicate that despite Nigeria's security challenges, it would go ahead with the event because of its confidence in Nigeria.

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