James Emejo and Sonia Mayomi in Abuja
The Minister of State Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, yesterday announced that the 27th Nigerian Economic Summit (NES#27) would hold from October 25th to 26th, 2021 in Abuja.
He said the theme would focus on, "Securing the Future: The Fierce Urgency of Now," and would explore potential opportunities that would accelerate economic development.
The minister pointed out that the 2021 summit would build on conversations from last year's edition, which emphasised the importance of harnessing critical and strategic partnership to navigate the economy towards recovery and resilience.
Speaking at a media briefing on the 27th Nigerian Economic Summit (NES#27) in Abuja, Agba explained that the theme was designed to assess the current state of the Nigerian economy, foster a people-centred approach to refocus economic, social, and political challenges and galvanise a renewed commitment of stakeholders to urgently and actively prioritise the pursuit of economic growth that can sustainably create jobs, lift millions out of poverty as well as enable the country to realise its economic potentials on the global stage
The august gathering, according to him, would also reach a consensus on a compact that compel stakeholders to take critical and immediate actions and institute an efficient monitoring mechanisms to ensure key recommendations at the NES #27 are implemented.
He said preparation for the summit had reached advanced stage, adding that the pre-summit events had already commenced.
The minister also said like the previous year, this year's edition of the summit would be organised in a hybrid format, both virtual and in-person because of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Appraising the successes of NES#26, which focused on "Building Partnership for Resilience", the minister said the deliberations enabled the country explore new opportunities for sustainable economic growth and development.
He said summit conclusions and recommendations had been forwarded to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and distributed to all Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to implement relevant aspects of the summit recommendations.
According to him, the National Development Plan (NDP) 2021-2025 also benefited from some of the recommendations of the 26th economic summit.
The summit provides a veritable platform for effective partnership and cooperation between the public and private sectors for the purpose of charting the course for stable and productive economy.
The summit brings together development partners, the civil society and representatives of the academia as well as provides participants the unique opportunity to deliberate on contemporary economic and social issues.
Also speaking at the briefing, Chairman, Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), Mr. Asue Ighodalo, said the summit would be held at an auspicious time when the nation is faced by various challenges on different fronts.
He said the country required a major economic transformation to subdue the challenges confronting it.
Ighodalo added: "Our dear country is no stranger to challenges. Even though we have remained the largest economy in Africa, every Nigerian will acknowledge that there is still a lot of work to be done as we strive for regional and global competitiveness."
He said there was a correlation between all the causes of insecurity and the crisis of underdevelopment in the country, adding that Nigeria's predicament was largely associated with unemployment, low productivity in the manufacturing and other sectors of the economy, low foreign investment, youth restiveness, abject poverty, religious and social intolerance, decaying infrastructure and high number of children who are out of school and poor healthcare facilities.
He added: "We possess extensive human and capital resources but we have not effectively leveraged our resources to catalyse economic growth and development."
"We need to strengthen our democratic institutions, prevent conflicts, foster sustained economic growth, and combat external threats that come our way, especially the COVID-19 pandemic in its different variants and mutations, climate change, food insecurity, narcotics trafficking, imported terrorism and maritime insecurity."
He said the summit comes at a time when the underlying weakness of the economy are being clearly shown up.
He listed the frailties in the economy to include devaluing currency, foreign exchange shortages, trade imbalances, budget deficits, mounting debts.
Others are high inflation especially food inflation, food insecurity, low manufacturing capacity, port inaccessibility, and delays and high costs of moving goods and machinery through our ports.