The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma has said that arrangements have been finalised for the conduct of this year’s Nigerian Economic Summit (NES 24) which is scheduled to hold in Abuja from Tuesday October 22nd, 2018 to Wednesday 23rd with a focus on good governance as path to sustainable human and economic development.
The Minister disclosed this while briefing media professionals in Abuja on Tuesday September 18, 2018 on plans for the 24th Edition of the Summit, adding that the aim will be to work towards achieving the goals of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP). He later announced the theme proposed for this year as “Poverty to Prosperity: Making Governance and Institutions to work.”
He pointed out that the ERGP is a carefully articulated medium-term plan specifically tailored to restore the economy on the path of diversified, inclusive and sustained growth. He expressed cognizance for the fact that execution priorities must be underpinned by a focus on governance and delivery to realize its objectives.
“Indeed, the ERGP sets out clearly that good governance at all levels is crucial for the success of the Plan and it is in this context that the Plan maps out strategies to improve governance by entrenching transparency and fighting corruption, reinforcing security, reforming the public service and strengthening coordination with sub-national governments,” he stressed.
While recalling the theme of last year’s Summit which was “Opportunities, Productivity and Employment: Actualizing the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan,” the Minister said that the Summit was out to get stakeholder commitments on the structural and fiscal changes required to link policy to economic opportunities, skills and competencies that deliver them, so as to achieve the aims of the ERGP.
The outcome of that Summit, according to him has inspired the focus of this year’s outing. He noted that the government has continued to implement the various strategies outlined in the ERGP and the outcomes of the economic summit towards enhancing good governance and strengthening institutions, the results which are encouraging. In enumerating the steps taken so far, the Minister inferred that the Government has sustained the fight against corruption, just as security has been enhanced across the country to tackle all forms of criminal activities, including kidnapping and terrorism. He mentioned that reforms have been introduced to reduce the cost of governance, promote transparency in the management of public resources, block leakages, raise productivity and ensure value for money.
Others measures, he identified include: efforts at moving the people from poverty to prosperity, creating employment and empowerment opportunities, combating hunger, improving health and educational infrastructure, enhancing transport and power infrastructure, among others. He espoused that this year’s gathering is designed to accelerate progress towards the implementation of the governance component of the ERGP.
“The ultimate goal is to stimulate discussions on accelerating implementation of ERGP strategies on governance, in order to enhance the social welfare of the Nigerian people,” he stated pointed out that it was against this background that the Summit is structured along five key thematic areas of Corruption and Rule of Law, Effective Public Institutions, Sustainable Economic Opportunities and Human Development as well as Participation and Citizens’ Rights.
Udo Udoma explained that discussions around the sub – themes will be driven by identified indicators, most of which are drawn from the Ibrahim Index for African Governance (IIAG), an internationally accepted measure of good governance; and will seek to underscore the link between good governance, economic growth and development as set out in the ERGP. He maintained that it will highlight the current state of governance and the challenges in delivering public services to the citizens towards identifying ways to overcome those challenges.
“As with the past Summits, this year’s edition will be anchored on plenary and breakout sessions. This year, we have mainstreamed feedback from past Summits to restructure the formats of the sessions to become more robust, incisive, intense and solutions-based,” he pointed out.
The Minister was particularly pleased that the startup pitching events which was introduced into the Summit programme last year to connect startups registered in Nigeria as a platform for creating and expanding opportunities in the country is already gaining traction. He expressed delight that more than 745 startups have already submitted their applications through the applications portal opened on the 1st of August, 2018. Adding, eight selected startups will be invited to pitch in front of venture capitalists and angel investors.
He was confident that this year’s Summit will present a good opportunity for discussions among leaders and citizens to deepen civic engagement on how to accelerate the achievement of the governance component of the ERGP.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), Laoye Jaiyeola in his comments avowed appreciation to the Federal Government for the collaboration that has seen the hosting of the Summit for the past 24 years. He observed that the Nigerian Economic Summit is organized annually by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) in collaboration with the Federal Government of Nigeria, represented by the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning. He enjoined that it is a forum for dialogue amongst top policy makers and corporate leaders.
Laoye Jaiyeola informed that the Summit serves to bring together government officials, representatives of the private sector, development partners, the civil society and some members of the academia to reflect on issues constraining Nigeria’s national development with the aim of building consensus towards evolving common strategies and policy frameworks for addressing the issues.