Buhari: coronavirus impacting global growth and oil price
REMARKS BY H.E. MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AT THE DINNER SESSION FOLLOWING THE CONCLUSION
OF THE GOING FOR GROWTH 2:0 ROUNDTABLE SESSION, WEDNESDAY 11TH MARCH 2020
1. I am delighted to welcome critical stakeholders in Nigeria’s private sector to this dinner, following the successful conclusion of the Going for Growth 2.0 roundtable session.
2. When a request was made on whether I could meet with participants after the roundtable, I did not hesitate to say ‘’yes’’, as I believe that the task of enabling greater growth and development of the Nigerian economy, requires joint collaboration between the public and the private sectors.
3. Let me therefore thank each and every one of you, for taking the time to discuss and provide recommendations on current economic issues, which could help support continued growth of the Nigerian economy.
4. This government remains steadfast in seeking to promote growth of the Nigerian economy, and by extension the growth of the Nigerian private sector. I am glad to note that following recent recession and supported by growth enhancing fiscal and monetary policy measures, GDP growth has remained in positive territory for the past 11 quarters. The positive growth has been driven by grice in key sectors of our economy such as Agriculture, Industry, Oil and Gas, as well as ICT.
5. A key focus of this administration has been diversification of the Nigerian economy and improving Nigeria’s level of self-sufficiency in food production. These measures would help support faster economic growth, create employment opportunities for our teeming youths, and reduce our import bill.
6. The onset of the corona virus in December 2019, which has spread to over 100 countries is having a significant impact on global growth, as well as commodity prices such as crude oil, which has dropped by over 45 percent since January 2020.
7. These external challenges have only served to reinforce the importance of ensuring that Nigeria is self-sufficient in the production of strategic goods.
8. They have also highlighted the fact that we need to continue to implement measures that would enable growth in other sectors of our economy and reduce our dependence on earnings from crude oil. For these objectives to be achieved, the vital role of the Nigerian private sector cannot be disputed or overemphasized.
9. I am delighted to note that we have made some progress in our diversification plans and in creating an enabling environment for the Nigerian private sector to thrive.
10. In the agricultural and manufacturing sectors, we have seen substantial improvements in the cultivation and processing of key staple commodities such as rice, maize, cotton and tomatoes.
11. We have also worked to improve access to finance for businesses in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors. Access to credit is often cited as a constraint to the growth of farmers and small and medium sized businesses. Over the past 10 months, we have seen significant improvements in credit to support continued growth of our economy.
12. I am aware that lending rates by banks to farmers, small businesses and manufacturers have been lowered over the same period. These measures along with aggressive efforts at rebuilding our road, rail and power infrastructure, will help to reduce the cost of doing business in Nigeria and promote faster growth of our economy.
13. Apart from the successes we have recorded, I admit that challenges do remain. Given our dependence on crude oil revenues for close to 60 percent of government revenues, the recent decline in crude oil prices affects our ability to meet the infrastructure and human capital needs.
14. Also, with annual population rates, we must continue to support growth in sectors that have the ability to absorb the employment needs of our growing population. With our vast arable land as well as population, ample room for growth exist in our agriculture and manufacturing sectors.
15. I therefore welcome continued collaboration with the private sector. The recommendations provided today on ways in which the private sector can support growth in key sectors such as Agriculture, Manufacturing, ICT, and Finance are necessary if we are to achieve double digit growth of our economy.
16. I assure you that this government would pay close attention to your recommendations, as part of our efforts towards developing policies and programs that will enable improved economic growth and creation of jobs.
- Thank you and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.