President Buhari has said the country’s economy is on a sustained path of growth since exiting recession.
He said one of the positive signs of progress in the economy was Nigeria’s place on the recent ranking on the World Bank’s 2020 Doing Business Index, in which the country moved up 15 places from the 2018 position of 146 to 131.
The president used the opportunity to ask state governments to intensity efforts to instill improved fiscal transparency and accountability in order to ensure optimum use of scarce resources.
Buhari, whose speech was read at the 18th edition of the National Productivity Merit Award investiture ceremony held in Abuja yesterday, by the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, also said that the country’s journey to food security and self-sufficiency was well underway.
“Our economic diversification programmes are yielding positive results. Our ease of doing business policies and programmes are already impacting Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises as well as manufacturing, mining and agriculture, among other key sectors. We are now ranked 131 on the World Bank’s 2020 Doing Business Index by moving up 15 places from the 2018 position of 146.
“We have made outstanding progress in almost all segments of the agriculture value chain; consequently, tens of thousands of jobs in agriculture, logistics, manufacturing and real sectors are being created. We shall sustain these policies to ensure additional investments are channeled, thereby creating more jobs in the sector,” he stated.
He added that the focus of his administration is to consolidate on the achievements made in the last four years “by intensifying efforts on security, restructuring the economy and fighting corruption, correcting the lapses made, tackling emerging challenges facing the country and taking bold steps in transforming our country and setting her on a sound and sustainable path to an enviable height.”
According to him, his administration has since its re-election in March been mapping out new strategies aimed at fostering unity and at the same time liberating the citizens from poverty.
The president also identified the major cause of inequality and insecurity in the country as pervasive corruption.
He urged Nigerians to collectively resolve to fight and expose corruption and the corrupt as by so doing the country can foster a broad-based prosperity required to create a country that is not only for a few privileged, but caters for all Nigerians.
In his speech at the award ceremony, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, said the annual award of honour was bestowed on individuals and organisations who stood out in creativity, innovation, high performance, efficiency, discipline, patriotism and had contributed in outstanding ways to national growth and development.
Ngige explained that since the inception of the award in 1991, a total of 333 individuals and 84 organisations have been honoured.
He said 25 individuals and seven organisations that have proved themselves worthy of this award were bestowed with this year’s national productivity honour.
Responding on behalf of some of the honourees, Elumelu reiterated their determination to create more jobs for the youth.
Speaking shortly after being conferred with the National Productivity Order of Merit (NPOM) award by Buhari, he said the creation of more employment opportunities had become inevitable in order to reduce insecurity, promote national development and social cohesion as well as getting the youth off the streets.
He expressed gratitude to the federal government for the recognition, adding that this would spur them towards boosting job creation.
He told journalists: “It is good to be recognised by your people, by your government and especially by President Muhammadu Buhari’s government for job creation, for helping to empower our young ones.
“I and my fellow awardees- Dangote and Oba Otudeko- we appreciate the gesture, we appreciate this recognition and we pledge to create more jobs for the country.
“We need jobs created in Nigeria to take our young ones off the streets, to reduce insecurity and to promote national development and cohesion.”
Apart from Dangote, Elumelu and Otudeko, the other award winners were Registrar, Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB), Prof. Ishaq Oloyede; Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd); Chief Richard Onwuka, Deputy Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Ojeme Ewi-Irudiakpor; Aishatu Abubakar, Prof. Adesola Olatunde Adepoju, Hajia Vivian Idama, Georgina Ekeoma Ehuriah and Prof. Hussaini Doko Ibrahim.
- Source: THISDAY