• Monday, July 22, 2024
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Nigeria should focus more on sustainable economic foundations instead of looming recession – Sanusi

Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

Considering the COVID-19-induced looming recession in Nigeria and African countries for which Federal Government considers as next stage of socio-economic problems, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Ex-Emir of Kano in Northern Nigeria and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) Advocate, has said that the Africa’s largest economies must look beyond reversing the recession trends, but must lay sustainable economic foundations beyond recession.

Sanusi explained that all socio-economic challenges that Nigeria faces as a country are rooted in insecurity as occasioned by Boko Haram insurgency, banditry, farmers and herders’ clashes, cattle rustling, armed robbery, among other challenges, which are being witnessed due to shoddy attention being paid to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), saying attention must be paid to solutions offered by SDGs to move Nigeria forward.

Speaking at Sustainability Webinar Series tagged, “Co-Creating Value Through Best Practices in Private Public Partnership And Impact Assessment”, organised by Lafarge Africa PLC in partnership with BusinessDay Media Limited and the Global Compact Network Nigeria, Sanusi lauded Lafarge Africa’s efforts on achieving some salient goals of SDGs, just as he urged other corporate organisations and conglomerates to support government to achieve desired growth and development.

He said, “Let me congratulate Lafarge for their works on SDGs. People talk of COVID-19 and pre-existing conditions and I would say Nigeria as a country and other African countries, had already had pre-economic conditions before COVID-19. When you have in some parts of the country like Zamfara, for example, where you have 90% living in extreme poverty.

“When you look into the forecasts of the World Bank, another 5-10 million population might be thrown in extreme poverty as a result of COVID-19, we must begin to realise the enormity of the problems that we have.

“The challenges we have as a nation around insecurity from farmers and herders’ clashes, banditry, Boko Haram, armed robbery, most of them have roots of not paying sufficient attention to SDGs and I really think that, this is the time we need a conversation.

“When you look at the economic sustainability plans in terms of fiscal and monetary response to crisis, it needs other criteria. In projects, we don’t have SDGs components and we should not think only about reversing recession but we should lay foundation for the economy.

“When we talk about broadband, we should know how we can use technology to develop education, we should know how we can use technology to develop healthcare, so, we can maximise our investments. Right now, we are not taking full advantage of technology that we have, we are not taking full advantage of infrastructure that we have for economic development.”

Responding, Khaled El Dokani, Host and Country Director, Lafarge Africa, member of LafargeHolcim, noted that challenges of Nigerian economy and Africa at large, need concerted efforts from public and private partnerships and institutions in order to really lessen burdens on government as he declared that the giant cement firm had invested hugely in alternative energy to reduce cost of production, improve ease of doing business and create more wealth.

“Back to Lafarge Africa, I think we have started 4-5 years, the efforts in waste management in particular, and we have a lot of initiatives. The four plants that we have in Nigeria, two of them run 30% on alternative fuel, all coming from waste materials.

“With solid partnerships with lots of conglomerates that are operating in Nigeria, we take the risk and we are using it as part of fuel and we have a lot of potential plans for the years to come as well”, he said.