- Category: Politics
- Published on Friday, 23 September 2011 08:48
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Jonathan also assured the investors and the international community of their safety in Nigeria, pointing out that Boko Haram, which he jovially referred to as “Our new friends”, would, like previous insurgent groups - Niger Delta militants and the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) in the South-west - fizzle out and make way for a stronger Nigeria.
“Niger Delta is quiet now and our oil and gas production has increased, but we now have new friends, Boko Haram, and the time they started, their attacks were quite different.
“While others used guns, they use bombs but we are coming to grasp with their style and we are building infrastructure now to contain it.
“Just like we were able to take maximum control of the problems of the Niger Delta situation and the OPC in the South-west, we will take maximum control of Boko Haram,” he said.
The president also said at the summit with the theme: “Nigeria in the Global Economic System: Taking Nigeria to the world and bringing the world to Nigeria”, that every step needed to unlock the full potentials of the country, would be pursued and dutifully accomplished for Nigeria to transform into one of the best 20 economies in the world within the next 10 years.
Jonathan, who said investors who do not hasten to come to the country with their investment portfolios might realise that they have arrived late, added that all economic indices for better performance in Nigeria, pointed assuredly in the positive direction, more so with concrete steps to address infrastructural problems.
The president said the steps taken by his economic team would transform Nigeria into an economy that would be run from funds huge enough and generated, not from oil and gas, but from other sources like agriculture and production in a fully diversified economy.
On the menace of advanced fee fraudsters popularly known as 419 in local parlance, he scored the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) high, saying the agency had almost totally eradicated the practice while still breaking new grounds.
He also said he had been impressed by the commission’s performance.
To drive the economy, he said the private sector was being given the needed handle and support as well as run things the globally rewarding way, adding:
“Before, we were used to farming, but now we are going into agriculture which we are going to run as a business while tight fiscal measures to shore up the economy will be pursued by his government.
“We are going to take drastic measures and economic policies that will create jobs for our teeming youths. We want to go into local production.”
According to him, “In the past, people used to refer to Nigeria as one of the most difficult places to do business in the world,” but added that all the factors that combined to give such impression were being addressed.
He said this was the reason he came with ministers in charge of the areas like power, Prof. Bart Nnaji, to explore ways to deal with the power situation and bring stability to the sector, adding, “You will soon see that things have changed and it is easy to do business in Nigeria”.
Nnaji told us that his team was sure of the milestones on power that they tell the outside world that they had achieved, pointing out that the international community which knows how to get to where the country was aiming, had already seen the signs that solving the problem was just a matter of keeping to a planned schedule and the discipline to sustain it.
While responding to questions on the health sector, Jonathan said he was putting together with his economic team schemes to build regional hospitals where he expects that over 25,000 Nigerian experts in the United States would come home from time-to-time to assist with healthcare delivery as infrastructure needed to do so would be provided.
Meanwhile, former British Prime Minister and Special envoy of the Quartet on the Middle East, Mr. Tony Blair, in his presentation observed that once a people were no longer comfortable with the status-quo and want to effect changes by their own efforts, then liberation has come for such people which he noted was the situation with Nigeria.
Blair said though “we are in a globalised world”, there was need for introspection and for Africans to try their hands in solving their own problems rather than look outside for salvation while cooperation should also not be with the outside world only but should include an inward look towards and among African nations, adding, “African problems are for Africans to solve.”
Blair said the entire globe was into some economic problems of sort and sees the solution in long term planning which would create jobs and confidences contrary to some understanding that it was an ideological problem of right and left.
He advised Nigeria to tailor its educational system towards building efficiency and delivery which would build its competences and enable it to accomplish set goals in all spheres of life as all odds favour a change that would make the country a preferred destination.
“When you see a people have confidence that they can solve their problem, a critical mass for change has come and I see that in Nigeria. Not from its oil and gas, but in the belief that they can do it, taking their destiny in their hands, what they are and what they want to achieve,” Blaire said.
In her presentation, Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, spoke on what she called the abundant resources in the country waiting to be tapped and projected that with the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), the oil and gas sector of Nigeria would be averaging $20 billion revenue monthly and assured investors that all was in place to achieving that.
She said the Nigerian content development programme was neither aimed at nationalising or indigenising investments, but to protect it and develop transparent competences for efficient delivery. (ThisDay)