Economic experts Tuesday expressed optimism that Nigeria stands a good chance of achieving the vision of being among the top 20 economies in the world by 2020, if all the abundant resources are harnessed adequately and the current challenges overcome through an articulated programme of actions.
Speaking ahead of the 14th edition of the Nigerian Economic Summit to be held in October, summit organising committee chairman Laoye Jaiyeola said “We have the potentials in terms of size, population, human and material resources, that can turn around the economy for better. If we can put our acts together to overcome the present problems, the country will be among the top 20 economies by 2020.
“That is why the economic summit this year will focus on critical areas we think work needed to be done,” Jaiyeola said at a media briefing and gave the summit theme as: “The Race to 2020, The Realities, The Possibilities”.
Jaiyeola outlined six core areas of focus in which experts would deliberate and come up with suggestions on overcoming them as including economic infrastructure, social infrastructure, resource mobilisation and pricing, food security and land reform, changing the Nigerian mindset, public service and governance.
“Improving and expanding the economic infrastructure is widely accepted as a perquisite towards achieving a globally competitive economy. We will concentrate in improving power supply, transportation, security, oil and gas, basic and vocational education, human capacity building, food security and reforms, public governance and changing the mindset of Nigerians from despair to optimism about the future of the country,” he added.
Chairman of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), Mazi Sam Obahumwa, said at the event the tasks of achieving the 2020 vision should be seen as a collective effort and not that of the government alone, stressing that Nigerians home and in the diaspora must buy into the vision.
“We all own this country. Nobody should feel unconcerned when it comes to the issue of moving the country forward. That has been our driving force, to make our voice heard, our position known,” the NESG chairman said.
According to him, “in all indices, the country has moved forward from what was obtained in 1999. Some of the recommendations made at the last summit are being carried out. Government has set up a council on Vision 2020, steering committee and a technical committee. All came as a result of our prompting, which is good in attaining our goals.”
Director General of NESG Mansur Ahmed noted that the violence in the Niger Delta region must be quickly addressed in order to attract more foreign investors to the oil and gas sector of the economy as well as improve the country’s revenue.
Some of the speakers expected at the four-day event are Torbjorn Caesar, Partner and Co-head of Actis Global Infrastructure business and Chairman of Globeleq; Hermando De-Soto, a Peruvian economist, known for his work on the informal economy and Richard Joseph, former Director, Programme of African Studies, Northwestern University.
The Nigerian Economic Summit Group is a private sector-led think-tank initiative with the mission of achieving economic sustainability and development through a number of activities, one of which is the annual economic summit that started 16 years ago.
It has eight policy commissions in all aspects of socio-economic landscape. One of the major functions of the commission is to support and monitor the implementation of recommendations made during summits as well as lobby the National Assembly in achieving its goals.