President Buhari’s Economic Advisory Council (EAC), on Thursday, reeled out strategies to tackle difficult economic challenges ahead of the implementation of the 2020 budget, even as they blamed “lack of synergy between Ministries and other government agencies”.
Receiving briefing from the team headed by Doyin Salami, Buhari however, assured that his administration would be bound by their advice on economy-related matters, and directed the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) to immediately address observed lapses in coordination between ministries and all agencies of government.
The ECA had earlier presented a report of macroeconomic importance and their views and recommendations, where they made recommendations on how to address the lapses.
Salami and his team outlined a number of challenging opportunities facing the economy, and proffered solutions to most of them.
The Council had amongst other issues, raised concerns that the rate of the growth of the economy is slower than the rate at which the country’s population is growing.
They also called for the need to strengthen national statistical agencies; reform procurement processes; improve education; and the need for job planning in training offered by academic institutions.
The Council also brought to the government’s attention their views on borrowing, macroeconomic stability and the need to provide a friendly climate for foreign investment.
“We need an environment that will attract investment. People will come only when they feel confident and when they come, their exit will not be challenging,” according to Salami.
The council resolved to focus on legacy projects by the administration before 2023.
But President Buhari in his remarks after the presentation, said that “the lack of synergy among ministries, departments, and agencies would no longer be accepted, adding that: “We are working for the country, not for personal interests. We have the same objective of service to the people.
“I am highly pleased based on what I have read in your Executive Summary with the painstaking thoroughness of your preliminary report. I have noted the salient points of your report and these will be incorporated in government economic policies.”
President noted that “the economy is the most delicate and sensitive of all aspects of national life.
“A little change in the matrix can lead to major disruptions in the national economy. For example, international changes in oil prices, bad harvests, conflicts in strategic global locations, a major epidemic or pandemic like the current Coronavirus, tariff changes in major world economies, to mention only a few examples that readily come to mind, can significantly affect our plans.”
President Buhari, who accepted that the EAC should now brief him more frequently, at least once every six weeks, instead of once every quarter, thanked the members for their patriotism and commitment in accepting the challenging responsibilities conferred on them.
“I cannot thank you enough for your patriotism,” he concluded.
In addition to Salami, the Chairman, the Council is made up of Mohammed Sagagi, Vice-Chairman and Ode Ojowu as members.
Other members are Shehu Yahaya, Iyabo Masha, Chukwuma Soludo, Bismack Rewane and Mohammed Adaya Salisu.
The two ministers in the Ministry of Finance also serve as co-opted members.