Jul 6 2012
He made the remark yesterday in Lagos, at the inaugural Legislature and Private Sector Forum organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), where he delivered the keynote address.
Mark said: “Given the state of our economy, government alone cannot provide all the needs of the people therefore it is only logical to search elsewhere for development funding, which can either be sourced from the private sector or we go cap in hand begging aid from donor countries.”
He said he had always been opposed to getting aid from donor countries because of unfavourable strings attached to such aids.
“Besides, as the giant and big brother of Africa, it is an embarrassment; we should be the one giving others aid. On the other hand, if we go the route of Public Private Partnership (PPP), which requires the support, collaboration and cooperation of the private sector it will yield more sustainable results,” he noted.
He said the forum was very timely because it will address proposals for PPP intervention in the economic activities of our country.
“I believe that public private partnerships will deliver more sustainable development solutions than most of the current development aid interventions we have in the country,” he said.
He reasoned that the private sector will principally give more attention to sustainability and return on investments than the regular aid interventionists.
He called for the diversification of our economy to allow for a robust inclusion of non-oil sectors in the country’s economic development if the PPP is to have meaningful impact on the lives of our people in a wide variety of ways, noting that the country’s over-reliance on crude oil for revenue generation is a hindrance to economic growth.
“Government alone cannot do it. Involving the private sector in national development is no longer a choice; it is an obligation,” he said.
He added that for the private sector to be encouraged to partner with government, the rules have to be clear, fair and applicable to all. He noted that another major issue that is needed to be addressed in order to make progress in the economy of the nation is identifying and selecting national priority projects.
“The decision should be made in consultation with the stakeholders in the different sectors of the Nigerian economy and also with citizenry. More so, emphasis needs to be placed on projects that are
people-oriented and beneficial to the generality of Nigerians,” he explained.
He noted that at present there are several abandoned and white elephant projects scattered across the country, stressing that contractors and those who initiate the projects are to be blamed because of the connivance sometimes between public officials and private sector operatives to inflate contract costs.
“Let me also use this opportunity to appeal to the private sector in this country particularly the business men to be honest in executing projects. Let me equally appeal that they should reduce their profit margins to internationally acceptable standards,” he said.
He assured that the national assembly is ready to work with the private sector in ensuring that laws are made which will create an enabling environment for PPP and business to thrive.
“I want to say here that we do not lack ideas when it comes to documentation or paper presentations. Rather our problem has been that we lack the political will to implement what we have documented or preached,” he said.
He noted that the progress of any society lies in the productivity of its citizens, therefore we should begin now to take very seriously investments in education, skill training and technology as no nation can compete effectively in the emerging global market with poorly educated and unskilled workers.
Fora such as this, he said creates opportunities for dialogue and cross fertilisation of ideas; a platform for brainstorming and a chance to pool ideas that can move us forward, and solve our national problems.
In his remarks, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, represented by the Chairman of the House Committee on Commerce, Hon. Sylvester Ogbaga, called for a complete overhaul of the Nigerian business environment because it is not completely conducive for business to thrive.
He disclosed that the establishment of a business environment resource centre was being vigorously pursued by the House of Representatives in the National Assembly.
“The House will use its oversight functions capacity to ensure that regulatory agencies perform in a manner that will make business more conducive for operators in the private sector,” he said.
Also in his opening remarks the President of LCCI, Goodie Ibru, stated that a strong and virile economy is imperative for a sustainable development.
“When democracy acts as a catalyst to economic growth by creating a business friendly environment for local and foreign investors, it is potentially a winning formula. Per capita income increases, raising living standards, boosting the economy and prestige of the country in the committee of nations,” he said
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