Full Text: President Buhari’s Speech At Ministerial Retreat On The Economy

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I am delighted to be here with you at this Ministerial
Retreat on the Economy and the Budget. The theme
of the Retreat which is “Building Inter-ministerial
Synergy for Effective Planning and Budgeting in
Nigeria” is very apt and timely, especially as we are
in the process of developing the 2017 Budget.

Over the years, there has been a mismatch between
planned targets and budgetary outcomes at the
National and sectorial levels. The Federal MDAs have
not also benefited significantly from working
together and building consensus around common
national objectives. This has impeded growth and development of the country.

It is in this context that this Retreat has been
designed to discuss issues around the State of the
Economy and build consensus amongst Cabinet
Members and top Government officials. The Retreat
will also serve as an opportunity to have a general
overview of the economy and discuss the framework for the 2017 Budget, its key priorities
and deliverables.

This Retreat is coming at a critical time in our
economic history, when the Nigerian economy is in
a recession, with significant downturn in
performance in various sectors. It is with regard to
the importance of this Retreat that I decided to sit
through the first part of the session to listen to the views from experienced economists and
development experts on how best to implement
our plans to rid the country of its oil dependence
and to diversify the economy and bring the country
out of the current economic recession.

This is in line with our Administration’s
determination to lay a solid foundation for growth
and development as outlined in the Strategic
Implementation Plan (SIP) of our Change Agenda.
Given that this Retreat is a lead-up to the 2017
Budget, my expectation is that we will come out of
the these sessions with a determination and
common position on how to have improved
synergy amongst the various Ministries and
Departments for the effective formulation and implementation of the 2017 Budget.

I also trust that the breakout sessions will enable
you to discuss extensively amongst yourselves, the
details of the four sub-themes and come up with
practical solutions on the way forward in order to
come out with a set of prioritized projects and
programmes that will fit into the 2017 Budget.

In this regard, let me inform you that because of the
need to focus on our key priorities, some Ministries
may get significantly less capital allocation than
they received in 2016, while others may get
significantly more.

You may notice that some key non-spending
agencies, such as the Infrastructure Concession
Regulatory Commission (ICRC), the Bureau of Public
Enterprises (BPE), the National Sovereign
Investment Authority (NSIA) and the National
Pension Commission (PENCOM), are participants at this Retreat.

This deliberate inclusion underscores the
commitment of this Administration to leverage on
private sector resources, through Public Private
Partnerships (PPP) and other arrangements, in
order to augment the scarce budgetary resources
at our disposal and to accelerate investments in building critical infrastructure.

Indeed, the challenges we face in the current
recession require ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking, to
deploy strategies that involve engaging
meaningfully with the private sector, to raise the
level of private sector investment in the economy as
a whole.

We are confident that the level of private investment
will grow as we are determined to make it easier to
do business in Nigeria by the reforms we are
introducing under the auspices of the Presidential
Committee on Ease of Doing Business.

Let me reiterate that this Government will continue
to strategize on how we can turn the current
challenges into opportunities for our nation and
especially for our vibrant youth on whose
shoulders lies the future of this nation. This is why
we have embarked on measures and actions that will open up the opportunities we have seen in the
Power, Housing, Agriculture, Mining, Trade and
Investment, Information Communication
Technology (ICT) Sectors, Tourism, Transport and
other sectors.

I wish to reassure its teeming youth that this
Government would remain steadfast in its effort to
ensure greater progress and prosperity for you.

While Government is taking the lead in the task of
repositioning our economy for Change, we cannot
achieve this completely by ourselves. We will need,
and we ask for the support and cooperation of the
private sector’s domestic and foreign investors, the
States and Local Governments, the National Assembly and the Judiciary as well as all well-
meaning Nigerians in this important task. We are
confident that working together, we shall succeed.

Finally, I trust that the cabinet members will learn
from the experiences of the Resource persons and
facilitators to prioritise their sector programmes and
projects to bring the country out of the current
economic recession and place it on the path of
growth and development.

I therefore urge the Honourable Ministers and other
senior government officials here present, to actively
participate in the Second Technical Session, which I
believe will provide you with deeper insight into
the complex issues that will open opportunities for
you to identify critical priority projects and programmes for the 2017 Budget.

At this juncture, may I formally recognize and
acknowledge the presence of the array of experts
invited to serve as resource persons and facilitators
at this Retreat. I am confident that Ministers and
Senior Government officials will benefit immensely
from your expertise and wealth of experience.

I wish you all fruitful deliberations and look
forward to receiving the report of the Retreat.

Thank you.

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