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NESG urges FG to do more with summit recommendations – NESG

The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) has urged the Federal Government to adopt more recommendations from the just concluded National Economic Summit (NES) and the previous editions to form policies that would deepen economic growth and development in the country.

Asue Ighodalo, chairman of the NESG speaking on Tuesday at a press conference after the 27th edition of the two-day event held in Abuja, said the group was not fully satisfied with the level of implementation and the trajectory of development. He, nevertheless, commended the Federal Government for the partnership so far.

“In the 26 years that we have been recommending, we are not as happy as we would like to be as to the trajectory of development. But we are happy with the support we get from the government.

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“Over the years, we feel fairly satisfied that most of the recommendations have been extremely impactful to the government,” he said.

According to him, some of the summit’s recommendations have resulted in pension reforms, telecommunication reforms, and power sector reforms among others. He particularly noted that the foreign exchange deregulation in 1996 was a result of recommendations from NES.

Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, budget and national planning, while fielding questions on debt management, assured that Nigeria already has a strategy to ensure that all loans will be paid as and when due.

Ahmed said the loans were largely being used to develop the country’s infrastructure and Nigerians will soon begin to feel its impact, which will be evidenced with improved standard of living and ease of doing business.

“We don’t just pull out numbers and borrow. This is a result of work that has been done to determine expenditure and what we expect to generate in terms of revenue. We have a debt management strategy that guides how we borrow; it is carefully planned and calibrated so that we are able to meet the debt service obligations when they are due,” she said.

The minister further expressed concern about the worsening number of out-of-school children due to the level of insecurity in the country. She said urgent action needed to be taken to address the problem.

“The issue of out-of-school children causes me long sleepless nights. We have too many out-of-school children and the insecurity is worsening the situation. Parents are afraid and reluctant to take their children back to school, it will further widen the deficit we have in terms of education unless we do something about it.

“With urgency, parents and teachers have to be assured of safety. Children need to be provided with psychosocial support,” Ahmed said.

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