By NBF News

THE Federal Government should put less emphasis on the Vision 2020 and focus, instead, on improving the economy, says Ola Vincent, former Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Vincent, who was CBN Governor from 1977 to 1982, gave this advise while speaking at the annual dinner of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Nigeria.

'Nigeria should aim to do better than it is doing now, and not be talking about becoming one of the largest economy in 2020', he said.

He noted that the way people talk about Nigeria achieving this feat assumes that the countries presently in the group of 20 largest economy have stopped growing, adding that this is farther from the truth.

He said those countries will not stop for Nigeria to catch up with them. 'They are also working to improve their economy and, hence, increase their growth. That is why achieving that feat requires urgent steps to improve the economy. My advise is that we should focus on improving on where we are today, doing better that we are presently doing.'

Power generation
Citing example of the need to increase power generation, he said, 'Nigeria is not going anywhere if the problem of power is not solved. 'Government has been talking about increasing generation to 4000 or 5000 megawatt but this should not be the goal. We should be talking about how to generate 40,000 mega watts in three years.

'So, government must move quickly in the direction of producing enough power for the country.'

Vincent, who was the special guest of honour at the occasion, said that a critical ingredient missing in present efforts to develop the economy is planning.

He said more efforts and resources should be devoted to comprehensive planning. Pointing out that the greatest impediment to development in the country is corruption, he said 'Those who practice corruption inhibit develop-ment. If corruption pre-dominates development would be lacking. What they do not realize is that if the money they steal is properly allocated to developing the economy there would be money to share.'

He expressed opposition to the proposed removal of subsidy, saying that what government should do is to reduce its running cost, starting with reducing the number of Special Advisers to the President.

He said in addition to this, the government should reduce the salaries of political appointees as it is been done in other climes.

The 2011 ICCN dinner was also used to mark the 80th anniversary of ICC Banking Commission in Nigeria.

Commending the Commission, Chairman ICCN, Mr. Babatunde Savage, said 'The ICC Banking Commission, (as a Commission of the ICC) is a leading global rule-making body for the banking industry, produc-ing universally accepted rules and guidelines for international banking practice, notably letters of credit, documentary collection, demand guarantees and bank-to-bank reimbursement and bank guarantees.

'Members of the ICC Nigeria Banking Commission were present in China at the ICC 80th Anniversary of the Banking Commission with the theme 'Shift in Trade'.

'What you see here tonight is the celebration by the Nigerian Chapter, which brings to fore our admiration and commendation of the dedication of members of the Banking Commission in creating rules of practice recognized all over the world.

'Looking ahead, the ICC Banking Commission plans to continue to expand its horizon in traditional trade services, open accounts and supply chain financing in particular, bank payment obligations (BPO) project, global regulatory, legal and compliance, risk and asset management.'