Militants are crippling economy —VP

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Friday decried activities of Niger Delta militants, lamenting that their actions have greatly led to the reduction of oil and gas output which is the mainstay of the nation’s economy.

According to him, the country’s revenue has fallen to 60 percent of what it was before the resurgence of militancy led by the rampaging Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) in February this year.

Besides, Osinbajo stated that the power sector could no longer work as envisaged as activities of militants had affected every aspect of the nation’s economy.

Professor Osinbajo stated this in Asaba, Delta State, while declaring open a two-day economic and investment summit organised by the state government as part of activities marking the 25th year anniversary of the creation of the state.

He said one of the ways that the country can get of the present economic crisis and ensure efficient service delivery is for the nation to build institutions, insisting that without strong institutions, economic delivery and development would fail.

According to Osinbajo, “There is dividend for the economy when there are strong institutions. We need to strengthen and beef up our institutions so that we can have good leaders. Strong institutions will lead to producing good characters in leadership.

“Strong institutions will lead to strong leaders that could be trusted because if people can’t trust leadership, it has failed.

“A well-established organisation is capable of delivering good services. It depends on the quality and character of people in the positions of authority. We need strong institutions to drive economic development.”

He said the Federal Government has not been short of ideas but the challenge has been the ability and the will to get things done.

Reacting to the overwhelming criticism against President Muhammadu Buhari over perceived lopsided appointments into federal agencies and parastatals, Osinbajo noted that merit should be considered ahead of the constitutional provision of federal character system.

He insisted that appointments made by the present administration were based on merit as that would make more provision for productivity and good service delivery.

Osinbajo also emphasised the need for credible leaders who could be trusted by the people as one of the needed criteria to earn the goodwill and trust of the Nigerian people.

He explained that trust plays critical role, adding that “we must build trust by ensuring that we are trustworthy. Trust plays critical role but it must be earned by leaders. So far trust has decreased in Nigeria. People don’t believe those in leadership because they are no longer trustworthy.”

Earlier, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa had explained that the summit was organised to showcase Delta to the outside world as a haven for investment, adding that it was also to chart a way forward to the diversification of the state’s economy.

Okowa told participants drawn from various sectors that an executive bill for the establishment of Delta State Investment Development Agency was being sponsored to create an investor-friendly climate and healthy business environment.

He explained that the bill set out the “institutional framework for public-private partnership, establishes guidelines to enable easy access to land for private investors, and envisions the creation of working committees/teams that proactively engage with the private sector to actualise their investment and business plans.

“Our objective is to remove the opaqueness usually associated with government business. The provisions of the bill will help facilitate business decisions for the private sector and, because every prospective investor knows what to expect, outcomes can be predicted.”

Participants at the summit which had former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Professor Charles Soludo as keynote speaker, were drawn from banking and finance, education, media, health, academia, ICT, entertainment among other sectors.