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Budgets'll be tailored to encourage manufacturing - Jonathan

By The Citizen
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President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday said the country's budget for the next two years and probably beyond 2015 would be tailored in a way to encourage the manufacturing sector.

He said the decision was based on his administration's conviction that the nation could not improve its economic performance without encouraging the private sector, especially the manufacturing arm.

Jonathan spoke while inaugurating the 18-member Board of the National Competitiveness Council of Nigeria chaired by the Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga.

The council is saddled with the task of increasing productivity and sales for local businesses, and will see to the expansion and creation of more markets for products made in Nigeria.

Jonathan said, 'We believe that without encouraging the private sector, especially the manufacturing sector, we cannot get out of our economic position no matter how we struggle to produce primary produce, they will not create enough jobs for this country.

'That is why for the next two years and may be beyond 2015, Nigerian budgets will be geared towards encouraging the manufacturing sector in this country.'

Members of the board include the President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Chief Kola Jamodu; President, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote; Director-General, Nigeria Economic Summit Group, Mr. Frank Nweke (Jnr.); Chairman, Heirs Holdings and Founder, Tony Elumelu Foundation, Mr. Tony Elumelu; and Ms. Funke Adekoya (SAN).

Others are Prof. Esogbue Augustine, Ms. Ike Yvonne; and Publisher, BusinessDay, Mr. Frank Aigbogun.

The move is aimed at increasing productivity and sales for local businesses, and will lead to expansion and creation of more markets for made in Nigeria products.

Jonathan said, 'You all have been selected to serve on this board on account of your proven integrity, unwavering patriotism and uncommon sense of duty. Government expects that you will use your experience and skills to add value to the important work that the Nigerian National Competitiveness Council is called upon to perform in our ongoing efforts to reform our investment climate.

'As you are aware, the objective of the Nigerian National Competitiveness Council is to enhance Nigeria's competitiveness by proposing policy recommendations that will create an economy that attracts domestic and foreign investments without focusing on, or benefiting any specific interest group or sector.'

He said policies would be developed based on quantitative, evidence-based analysis and would align with the broader long-term transformation agenda of the current administration.

The President said, 'For Nigeria to have its share of the global wealth, we must ensure that we improve our business environment and enhance the competitiveness of firms operating in our country. It is only then that these firms will be able to expand their operations and create more jobs and wealth for Nigerians and Nigeria.

'It is only when we have a competitive business environment that we will be able to attract foreign direct investment and make our country the world's investment destination. Your board, therefore, owes this nation a duty to execute its task transparently and diligently. I have every confidence that you will not let our nation down.'

Addressing journalists shortly after the inauguration, Aganga said the council would enhance Nigeria's competitiveness by proposing policy recommendations that would create an economy that could attract domestic and foreign investments.

This, he said, would be implemented without focusing on or giving specific benefits to any interest group or sector.

TheĀ  minister said the council would be the focal body responsible for creating awareness on national competitiveness in the country and coordinating efforts of both the public and private sectors to improve Nigeria's competitiveness.