SAN FRANCISCO, January 23, (THEWILL) – Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has declared that the Organized Private Sector (OPS) will play a critical role in the Federal Government’s economic growth and recovery plan as the Buhari presidency intensifies efforts at repositioning the economy.
Osinbajo stated this at the second edition of the Presidential Business Forum, a quarterly interaction between the Federal Government’s economic team and the OPS at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja, on Monday.
OPS comprises the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (NASME) and Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industries (NASSI).
Osinbajo reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to working with the OPS in ensuring that government’s plan of truly reenergizing the local manufacturing Sector was realized saying that with constant interaction with key private sector players was important in driving Nigeria’s economic recovery agenda and ensuring inclusive growth that would also be sustainable.
“The Organised Private Sector (OPS) has an important and critical role to play in this administration’s economic recovery and growth plan,” he said.
“As it has already been said, government alone cannot do it, we cannot do everything, the private sector has a key role to play and that is why we are very keen on building this partnership.
“Continuing engagement is very critical and we will encourage meetings of smaller representative groups of the OPS as we go on because obviously we can’t wait for one quarterly business forum or the other.
“So, I will be urging that we look for one sectoral group or representative sector of the OPS which can interact with the government or government agency, but I think this is something that we should institutionalized and make more robust.
“We have met with different groups; we have met with indigenous petroleum producers, power sector operators, rice and wheat farmers, processors, local tomato producers and others. So, we felt that these engagements are also very important, while we look to this forum, in between, we should engage with small but important stakeholder groups.
“I also want to urge the OPS to endorse the policies as laid out, I believe that with the kind of partnership that we are talking about.
“It will be helpful if the OPS also engages us and is in a position to support the policies of the Federal Government and I think that that is the way to really establish the partnership and to create the confidence that is required from investors both local and internationally.”
Meanwhile, members of the OPS gave a list of 12 demands, tagged “priority areas”, to the federal government on how to improve the economic fortunes of the country.
Some of the demands include reviewing the FX ban on 41 imported items introduced by the CBN in 2015; stopping the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) from using armed men to collect taxes; monitoring the allocation of FX to manufacturers; backing out of the proposed EU/ECOWAS Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) which they believe would de-industrialise Nigeria; and paying debts owed to local contractors.