Nigeria as the most populous black nation in Africa must make necessary and compelling economic decisions to attain prosperity.
This was the submission of the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo in Osogbo, Southwest Nigeria, at the Osun Economic and Development Summit, tagged: Pathway to Economic Growth and Prosperity for the State of Osun.
He said the Nigerian government is presently taking pertinent steps to redirect the economy of Nigeria towards sustainability and prosperity.
Osinbajo also explained that the state must swiftly move to maximally explore the array of its economic potentials, noting that it has comparative advantage in mining and tourism.
The Vice-president was represented at the occasion by his Senior Special Assistant on Ease of Doing Business, Dr Jumoke Oluwole.
Respondng, Governor Gboyega Oyetola stressed the commitment of his administration to providing enabling environment for ease of doing business across all sectors in the state.
He said the agrarian nature of the state makes it a suitable arena for massive agricultural investments.
“Agriculture is Osun’s biggest sector. Osun is blessed with the right conditions for multi-crop cultivation and suitable for agriculture investments.
“Being largely an agrarian economy with fertile and expansive landmass, we are your most- suitable location for agricultural investment,’’ the Governor stated.
The Governor noted that Osun is also blessed with variety of mineral resources such as gold, lead/zinc, quartz, feldspar and precious metals, which were yet to be fully harnessed.
“We occupy a unique place in the mining sector in Nigeria. We are a mining State that hosts solid minerals. We are also a State that has invested in acquiring the licenses for solid minerals under our land from the Federal Government.
“No other state in Nigeria can offer the unique combination of both regulatory and commercial fusion,” he added
Youths as catalysts for development
One of the panelists at the summit, the Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare remarked that Nigeria is blessed with about 67 millions youths who are the most vibrant factor of production.
He however stated that many of the youths could not take advantage of the emerging employment opportunities, especially in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector because of lack of technical skills.
Dare implored every strata of government to urgently and hugely invest in the youth for a prosperous future, saying, “an investment in the youths is indeed a worthy investment.”
The Minister advocated mechanised farming to guarantee food security, as well as injection of technology into vocational training to build virile human capital among the youths.
Another panelist, Dr Wale Babalakin made a case for private/public sector -driven development approach where government provides enabling environment for business to thrive via sound development plan, stable policy and implementation, provision of infrastructure and security.
Banalakin, who is also the Chairman, Bi-Courtney Group of Companies argued that governments in the emerging economies of Africa lack necessary financial muscles to adequately provide education, infrastructure and other capital-intensive projects. Hence, the need for synergy with private investors.
Babalakin however warned African governments to negotiate development projects with private partners with “cerebral inputs for optimal benefits”,
According to him, “foreign partners usually come with highly skilled lawyers and financial experts and it is not healthy for business to always cancel agreements”.
“Investment needs cerebral inputs during negotiations, because cash without intellectual inputs amounts to nothing,” Babalakin added.