President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated the determination of his administration to diversify the economy through increased local production of goods and services.
President Buhari reiterated this in Abuja on Monday at the opening of the 22nd Nigerian Economic Summit.
He said that with a diversified economy, Nigeria would not have to depend on a single commodity to survive as a nation.
“As I have said in the past, we need to diversify the economy so that we will never again have to rely on one commodity to survive as a country so that we can produce the food we eat, make our own textiles work; produce most of the things we use and create the right environment for our young people to be able to innovate and create jobs through technology.
“This has been the commitment and the mandate of this administration and I have remained focused on it each day, since this administration assumed office.
“There is clearly no better way to achieve this without building our economic foundation on made-in-Nigeria goods and services.’’
According to him, the theme of the summit: `Made in Nigeria`, lies at the heart of so many efforts his administration is making to lead the nation through the moment of recession and lay a firm foundation for the future.
He said that some of the stakeholders at the summit were champions of made-in-Nigeria products.
He said such champions had defied the odds over the years to produce goods locally and contribute to the growth of the economy.
Buhari stated that his administration will continue to encourage increased local production of goods and services to ensure self-sufficiency.
“My greatest desire is that Nigeria moves from import dependence to self-sufficiency in local production and become an export-led economy in goods and services.
“I strongly believe that this summit will bring all stakeholders on board to stay on that course.”
The President expressed the hope that at the end of the summit, the participants would make useful and realistic recommendations that would provide solutions to the socio-economic challenges facing the country.
In his remarks, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Mr Udoma Udo Udoma assured that the government will continue to improve the environment conducive for businesses to thrive.
“We will continue, amongst other things, to prioritise our spending towards critical infrastructure to improve Nigeria’s competitiveness.
“Government agencies will work with the private sector to support research with a view to developing high quality indigenous products and technologies.’’
He said many of the government’s programmes had been structured to stimulate domestic production.
The minister said only locally produced food items would be used for the School Feeding Programme of the government.
He, however, said that much more needed to be done by both the public and private sectors to encourage and support local production.
Udoma expressed the hope that the summit will provide an opportunity to examine what more can be done.
“How do we promote the consumption of more Made-in-Nigeria goods and services?
“How do we improve the quality of Made-in-Nigeria goods to international standards so they can be exported?
“How can we support our SMEs to be able to compete?
“It is our expectation that this summit will provide a platform to sharpen the focus of the conversation and also offer recommendations that will help reinvigorate our industries and services,’’ he said.
He said a productive indigenous manufacturing sector would curtail the growing demand for foreign exchange for imported end-user goods. (NAN)