By Okon Okon
President Muhammad Buhari in his inaugural address in 2019 for a second term in office, promised to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.
To achieve this, Buhari created the Ministry of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs (MSDIA).
The ministry has the mandate to develop and implement policies, programmes and projects for the effective and efficient delivery of the gains of the Economic Growth and Recovery Plan.
The ministry recently organised a two-day summit tagged, “Inaugural Partnership Economy Summit,” to strategise ways to actualise the President’s vision, through collaborative efforts with other stakeholders.
The summit had in attendance representatives of the Vice President, Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs Sen. George Akume, as chief host, representative of the Speaker, House of Representatives, Dr Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, among others.
Declaring the Summit open, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, appreciated the MSDIA for taking practical steps aimed at actualising the President’s vision.
Osinbajo said the Federal Government was already committed to giving support to smaller companies to create jobs and to boost the nation’s economy.
Represented by Chief Niyi Adebayo, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investments, Osinbajo said the summit was a bold initiative, designed to strengthen government and citizen collaboration, under the banner of Partnership Economy Nigeria (PEN).
PEN, according to him, is a socio-economic platform made up of key stakeholders, including the three tiers of government, the private sector and organised civil society groups.
He explained that Nigeria’s young entrepreneurs and small business owners were the future of the country, adding that the Federal Government was committed to supporting them in their different businesses.
“Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are the backbone of Nigeria’s economy, and this platform will support their sustainable growth.
“PEN is a timely and well-needed intervention, strategic partnership between the three tiers of government, the private sector and civil society and is critical to post COVID-19 recovery and building a strong resilient economy.
“The Federal Government is committed to providing practical support to smaller companies at this critical time.”
Sen. George Akume, Minister of MSDIA, explained that the primary purpose of the summit was to dialogue on how to diversify the economy, promote rural growth as well as generate sustainable jobs for the youths.
To achieve this, the minister emphasised the importance of partnership with other stakeholders as the ministry was determined to achieve the mandate given it by the President.
“The framework for the upcoming summit, guided by the principles of Public Social Private Partnership (PSPP) is being designed, to develop, and promote a multi-Iayered collaborative socio-economic platform for the government, the business sector as well as the civil society.
“In order to achieve this, President Muhammadu Buhari established the ministry with the mandate to develop and implement policies, programmes and projects for the effective and efficient delivery of the gains of Economic Growth and Recovery Plan.”
He said the ministry was also charged with the mandate of collaborating with the private sector to create employment for a large number of Nigerian youths.
The ministry is also to implement a strategy towards the realisation of “President’s promise to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.’’
Akume stated further that the ministry would build solid sustainable framework of PEN, being a bold attempt to mobilise multi-stakeholders on a platform that generates synergy to promote wealth creation.
He added that the summit would also focus on the diversification of the country’s economy and the generation of several million jobs in the economy.
“The platform is also designed to harmonise the efforts of the three tiers of government towards supporting and facilitating the community-based Micro, Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (MSME).
”This will enable them to start and grow value-addition businesses across all sectors at ward levels at local government levels in particular, in a bid to build our economy from the bottom to up.”
In his remarks, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker, House of Representatives, noted that the time was ripe for Nigeria to look out for ways to grow local businesses to cushion the effects of global harsh economic realities.
Represented by Mr Agunsoye Rotimi, the speaker said the summit was timely, stressing that it was imperative to ensure that Nigerians were not left out of global business developments.
Dr Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, said the office had partnered with relevant stakeholders at the national and sub-national levels to mainstream the SDGs into their development plans.
According to Orelope-Adefulire, SDGs’ office is currently supporting the 36 states and FCT in collaboration with UNDP to develop SDGs based state development plan, and the design of an Integrated National Financing Framework for effective resource mobilisation for the SDGs.
“Additionally, the government took unprecedented steps to prevent the economy from going into turmoil, restored stability to the economy by providing assistance to individuals, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
“And businesses that have been severely affected by the impact of COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the measures taken include the Creation of an N100 billion target credit facility for affected households, among others. ”
With the theme, “Translating Global Goals into Local Businesses in Nigeria,” stakeholders said the gathering sought to begin the practical steps among other moves by the Federal Government, to actualise the vision of “Lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.”