Few people in five states holding Nigeria’s wealth ― Buhari
At the opening of 25th economic summit in Abuja on Monday, President Muhammadu Buhari disclosed that Nigeria’s wealth was concentrated in the hands of just a handful of people living in five states including Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He made a differentiation between prosperity and wealth, saying that his government was determined to create prosperity for the largest majority of Nigerians.
“In recent years, global events have shown that when a society and its leaders are driven and motivated by these alone, the ultimate outcome is a divided state of severe inequalities.
“But a prosperous society is one where the majority of its citizens have an acceptable standard of living and a decent quality of life.
“Nigeria is a country with close to 200 million people living in 36 states and the FCT.
“This leaves the remaining 31 States with close to 150 million people in a state of expectancy and hope for better opportunity to thrive.”
This, according to him was responsible for the migratory and security trends we are seeing today both in Nigeria and across the region.
Summing up experiences of his recent travels across the world, the President said: “what was very clear at these meetings, and numerous others I have been privileged to attend over the years, is the increased consensus by leaders that to address population growth, security and corruption matters in developing economies, our policies and programs must focus on promoting inclusivity and collective prosperity.
“This shift implies that the concept of having competitive free markets that focus on wealth creation alone will be replaced by those that propagate the creation of inclusive markets which provide citizens with opportunities that will lead to peaceful and prosperous lives.”
He stated his belief in the interplay of government and private sectors to protect businesses and create opportunities for citizens.
“As a government, our view is to equip our citizens with the means to seize any opportunities that may arise. This means we continue investments in education, health care, infrastructure, security and strengthen and entrench the rule of law.
Earlier in her remarks, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning Mrs. Zainab Ahmed said the theme of this year’s Summit “Nigeria 2050: Shifting Gears” emphasize the imperatives for the country to move to a more robust competitive private sector economy with focus on the implications of the projected population of the country hitting over 400 million, making Nigeria the third most populous country in the world by 2050.
“The structure of this population shows that the majority will be under the age of 35, representing a large percentage of Africa’s young working-age population.”
Noting that the opportunities are endless, as are the risks she said however that “if we do not accelerate our efforts towards sustainable and inclusive growth, and improved human capital.”
Ahmed said there was an urgent need to design policies that will not only address the rising population but ensure paradigm shift to a competitive private sector-led economic growth and development.
Meanwhile, Chairman, Federal Government’s Economic Advisory Council, Dr Doyin Salami canvassed unified direction approach between federal and sub-national government for accelerated economic growth.
He said for the private sector to thrive, the government must create enabling environment by ensuring that the resources of private investors were saved.
Salami urged Nigeria to take inspiration from the giant countries the nation wanted to compete with adding that to achieve economic growth, innovations and transformation were critical.