Abuja – President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration is committed to consolidating on its successes of the last four years to make life better for all citizens irrespective of their geo-political backgrounds.President Muhammadu Buhari
The president gave the assurance when he declared open a two-day Presidential Policy Retreat at the State House in Abuja on Wednesday.
Buhari, therefore, urged the participants, comprising top government officials and state governors, to come up with key policy proposals that would help government accelerate growth and economic development across the country.
He noted that his administration had made progress in the agricultural sector especially in food production and processing through its Food Security and Anchors Borrowers Programmes.
According to him, these programmes provide concessionary credit facilities to farmers in crop production as well as large-scale investors in food processing and manufacturing.
“To consolidate on these and other successes, we will continue to provide incentives that will facilitate investments and create jobs in key import substitution programmes.
“We are committed to consolidating the successes of the first term and creating an avenue such that the nation’s investments and resources are geared towards sustainable development.
“We will implement structures that will accelerate speedy execution of these initiatives,’’ he added.
According to the president, his administration will continue to provide incentives for sustainable economic growth and job creation.
He observed that the administration had witnessed eight quarters of consistent though marginal growth of the economy over the past two and half years.
Buhari reminded the participants that the outcome of their deliberations will only be advisory.
“In line with the ‘Next Level’ strategy of our party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) which seeks to consolidate on our achievements over the past four years.
“This policy dialogue session has been conceived to advise the government over the next four years to deliver on our promises in a manner that reflects true changes to the livelihood of our people.
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“You are also to discuss and propose for federal government’s approval, key strategies and high impact initiatives to stimulate economic growth and development.
“These concerted efforts require the convergence of various stakeholders, cutting across the private sector, development partners and industry experts, to dialogue and forge a way forward,’’ he said.
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The National Chairman of the APC, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, advised the three-tiers of government not to use pension funds in the custody of National Pension Commission (PENCOM) as stop gap measures to fund budget deficits and infrastructure development.
He noted with concern that poverty had continued to ravage Nigerians despite efforts by the current administration to address the challenge.
Oshiohmole, who stated that the fund was originally meant to provide long term loans for housing development, called on the retreat participants to come up with implementable policies to address Nigeria’s socio-economic crises.
“We know what the challenges are, but now, we need practical solutions to deal with the issue but the problem is how.
“Why is it that in Nigeria, if you have to buy a car, you must have come up with all the money needed.
“We have all travelled all around the world, 10 per cent of your salary is all you need to buy a car.
“We must stop PENCOM money from being borrowed and used for the purpose other than addressing social needs of Nigerian workers. Poor people’s money must be used to address the challenges of the poor,’’ he said.
Participants at the retreat included Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha; Chief of Staff to the President, Malam Abba Kyari, as well as business moguls Alhaji Aliko Dangote and Mr Jim Ovia.
Others were Governors of Kebbi, Plateau, Kano, Kaduna, Kogi, Imo, Bauchi, Ekiti, Edo, Borno and Lagos States.
The resource persons included former Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn, and Prof. Abubakar Siddique of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State. (NAN)