NES#28: Osinbajo highlights importance of African Carbon Market in addressing climate change
• FG to launch Nigeria Agenda 2050, hikes per capita GDP to $33,000 ― Ahmed • NESG sets Agenda for Presidential candidates
The Federal Government is finalising plans on the draft Nigeria Agenda 2050, which seeks to increase the country’s per capita GDP to $33,000 by 2050 and place Nigeria amongst the rank of upper middle-income countries, just as NESG sets agenda for Presidential candidates.
The plan, Nigeria Agenda 2050 will replace Nigeria Vision 2020 which lapsed in December 2020, even as the government is in the second year of implementing the National Development Plan (NDP) 2021 – 2025, which has the private sector as the lead driver.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Finance Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed on Monday at the 28th Nigerian Economic Summit (NES#28) holding at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.
Chairman of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, Mr. Asue Ighodalo said anyone of the candidates who seeks the Office of President and Vice President who does not subscribe to the consensus issues put forward by the Summit, does not clearly understand the problems facing the country, has not thought about how these problems must be dealt with and “cannot have the capacity and understanding to lead this country at this time”.
Mrs. Ahmed who spoke at the Summit, which has the theme: “2023 and Beyond: Priorities for Shared Prosperity”, stated: “I am pleased to inform you that the draft Nigeria Agenda 2050 is being finalised and will be launched soon. The Plan seeks to increase the country’s per capita GDP to US$33,000 by 2050 and place Nigeria amongst the rank of Upper Middle Income Countries.
“The Plan will be implemented by successive governments through Six, 5-Year Medium-Term National Development Plans and Annual Budgets. The Nigeria Agenda 2050 has a moral imperative to lower the poverty and unemployment rate significantly as this is the only way we can ensure sustainable broad-based growth”.
She pointed out that the Federal Government is focused on unlocking the economic potential of the non-oil and high employment generating sectors to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth and development.
According to her, “Reforms in Agriculture are yielding results, leading to an improvement in net earnings of rural farmers to the sum of N174 billion in the areas of Cassava, Rice, Sorghum, Maize and Cotton production”.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the opening ceremony spoke on “How Partnership, Innovative Thinking, Disciplined Implementation can Boost Economic Growth, Productivity”, and highlighted the importance of African Carbon Market in addressing climate change.
He stated that with pressing national, global economic challenges, as well as emerging local and global trends, the task ahead of the Nigerian nation requires partnership, innovative thinking, and most importantly, disciplined implementation, by both government and the private sector.
Speaking on the theme of the Summit, “2023 & Beyond: Priorities for Shared Prosperity,” the Presidential address focused on key issues to drive growth and prosperity, including the National Development Plan 2021 – 2025, and the impact of the Economic Sustainability Plan, among others.
The Vice President further highlighted the need for increased productivity and value addition across different sectors of the economy so as to create more jobs for Nigerians, especially its youths, and increase national revenue for further development.
The President’s address highlighted key issues such as youth development, improving macroeconomic conditions, the impact of climate change, the need for a just transition to net-zero emissions, debt-for-climate swap deal for African countries, and the launch of the African Carbon Market Initiative at the ongoing COP-27 in Egypt.
It also focused on leveraging disruptive technologies through digitization for further economic developments, as well as the need to improve social welfare programmes, and focused investment in the country’s youth.
According to the VP, there is “the need for more intentional and focused investment on our youths, especially in globally marketable skills, access to credit, protection of intellectual property rights of innovators, and inventors and access to global markets. I trust that some of these issues will be given deeper attention in your discussions at this summit.
“The task ahead requires partnership, innovative thinking; but, most importantly, disciplined implementation”.
Emphasising on improving macroeconomic conditions, the Vice President said, “on the positive side, the economy continues to grow with GDP growth at 3.54% in the 2nd quarter of this year. Non-oil revenues have similarly continued to improve due in part to strategic revenue initiatives, including the annual Finance Act.
“But it is still our revenue challenges that heighten the notion that we have a debt problem, which is really not the case, given that our debt/GDP ratio is just 23%.”
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Noting that although the country’s current debt service to revenue ratio is high, Prof. Osinbajo stated that “unlike in the past, when we were not keeping a close eye on debt matters, the creation of the Debt Management Office means that we are better able to adopt strategies to manage our debt, including using more concessional loans, spreading out our debt maturities and re-financing short-term debt with longer-term debt instruments.
This is why increasing revenues should engage most of the attention.
“We have already seen real improvements in our non-oil revenues, but our focus must now be on productivity or encouraging value addition. Productivity and value addition means creation of traceable value; it means jobs, opportunities, and more tax revenues.”
He continued that, “to increase productivity, we must free up our environment for business, make local and international trade easier by fixing the ports, effecting the National Single Window, revamping our Customs processes and Tariff codes to reduce delays and arbitrariness, removing needless restrictions on imports to enable value added processes.”
Also, Prof. Osinbajo emphasised that Nigeria must also press its advantage in renewable energy, noting that “the future are the jobs and opportunities from the green economy.”
The VP noted that the “Solar Power Naija programme launched under the Economic Sustainability Plan which is designed to achieve 5 million solar connections impacting over 25 million Nigerians will contribute in this regard. But the impact includes opportunities in manufacturing and maintaining solar equipment and facilities.”
He also highlighted local security and economic challenges, global turbulence on the political, economic and social fronts, including the Russia-Ukraine war and global tensions, which he noted “is impacting Africa, including through higher food prices and disruptions to democratic governance.”
With global economy still recovering from the effects of COVID-19, as well as the challenges posed by climate change, which has caused flooding in several states in Nigeria, the Vice President observed that “it is clear that our work is cut out and we have to choose our priorities going forward very carefully. There are a whole gamut of things that require our attention and many are well captured in the National Development Plan 2021 to 2025.”
On the volatility of the country’s exchange rate, Prof. Osinbajo was of the view that “the discussion that we must have, shorn of sentiments, is how best to manage the situation by finding a mechanism for increasing supply and moderating demand, which will be transparent and will boost confidence.”
The VP also emphasized the need for urgent action to reduce inflation, noting that inflation is both a tax on the poor and disrupts long term growth.
In addition to the monetary measures being taken by the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Osinbajo stated that “we would need to increase domestic production of food and ensure that it gets to the market.”
“In this regard, we must pay closer attention to the institutional insight of the Agriculture for Food and Jobs Programme of the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), which sought to support small scale farmers by guaranteeing uptake of their production through enabling bigger farmers, suppliers to manufacturing companies and commodity exchanges to support them across every stage of production,” he said.
Addressing the impact of climate change on local economies, the Vice President reiterated Nigeria’s position on the call for just transition and the debt-for-climate swap deals, noting that “these swaps can be a win-win for debtors and creditors.”
According to him, “we must continue to call for a just transition that enables us to use our abundant gas resources to meet our energy needs, including for electricity and cooking. This will enable us to secure the resources needed for investment in natural gas, as well as in renewable forms of energy. I am happy that this matter is on the table at the ongoing COP-27. It should be pursued to its logical conclusion of securing additional finance for developing economies.”
Also highlighting the significance of the Africa Carbon Markets Initiative, which was launched last week at COP 27 in Egypt, the VP observed that unlocking the potential of carbon markets in Africa would help raise essential resources to tackle climate change on the continent.
“Since the $100 billion in financing, which the developed countries promised to help to tackle climate change remains to be fulfilled, we should explore the potential of carbon credits to raise the required resources,” he stated.
Continuing, he said, “it has been estimated that Nigeria could produce more than 30m tonnes of carbon credits annually by 2030, bringing in more than $500m annually. The future are the jobs and opportunities from the green economy. We must press our advantage in renewable energy.”
On leveraging disruptive technologies offered by digitization for economic growth, the VP noted the “increasing economic viability of advanced robotics, artificial intelligence, 3-D printing, the Internet of Things, cloud computing, big data analytics, and blockchain technologies.”
“We have already seen the impact of digitisation in fintech in Nigeria, and the story of how our young people managed to create six unicorns in a period of two recessions is one that will continue to be told. We must build on these achievements, which also offer us the opportunity to leapfrog by deploying digital technologies in agriculture, health, education, logistics, and even manufacturing, housing and smart power grids,” he added.
Prof. Osinbajo further noted that under the Buhari administration, the Federal Government introduced the most comprehensive and resourced Social Investment Programme, which helped Government adopt “a more bottom-up approach to economic planning and budgeting.”
“It also helped us to implement a wealth and opportunity creating social investments, as opposed to mere poverty alleviation. We are far from our set objectives, but we have begun and must press forward.”
Commending the organisers, the Vice President observed that the Summit “has become the forum for high quality engagements amongst thought leaders, captains of industry, civil society and decision makers in the highest echelons of government on the economy of this country.”
Prince Clem Ikanade Agba, Minister of State for Budget and National Planning as the economy continues to recover from external and internal shocks, Nigeria’s Perspective Plan (Nigeria Agenda 2050) is designed to transform the country into an “Upper-Middle Income Country” by the year 2050.
“The Nigeria Agenda 2050 is formulated against the backdrop of several subsisting development challenges in the country and the need to address them within the framework of six 5-Year Medium- Term Development Plan each comprising the National Development Plan, 2021-2025 (already approved, published and being implemented), (2026-2030), (2031-2035), (2036-2040), (2041-2045), and (2046-2050)”, he explained.
Chairman of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, Mr. Asue Ighodalo said for Nigeria to realise the goal of prosperity, the country must succeed in transforming its economy into the complete opposite of what it is today, “i.e. from hardship to true prosperity, within a specified time frame”.
He noted that “the Nigeria Agenda 2050, currently being drafted, proposes a time frame of about 25 years. It means there can be no further regression, we can no longer accept just marginal improvement, or even what some may deem a decent improvement.
“We must improve at the speed of a maglev train. We must recalibrate our visioning and specifically state that we are working towards a specified target growth, by a specified date, benchmarking ourselves with the most prosperous countries in the world.
“I propose that, our specified target must be; “turning Nigeria into the most prosperous black country in the world, with a GDP per capita that is at par with the OECD countries, by 2050”.
The Economic Summit boss, added that the purpose of such specific precision is “to encourage us first to consider a different way of thinking about economic development – one that is defined not by incremental progress, but by clear objectively measurable goals. If we took that kind of clear approach, it would mean – just based on today’s OECD indices – that we would need to grow our GDP to somewhere between $4.5 trillion and $9 trillion – depending on whether we are able to remain at a population of around 220 million or continue to grow to the 450 million we have been projected to reach by 2050.
“We would need to build an economy that is 10 to 20 times the $440 billion economy we have today. So, we must set ourselves a task of growing at over 15% every year.”
Mr. Ighodalo urged participants at the Summit to reach a broad – based consensus on certain policies and issues that the leading contenders for the office of the President must subscribe to.
The consensus are: national job creation agenda; accelerated human capital development; social protection and development; rebuilding and rejigging our institutions; effective, efficient and coordinated macroeconomic policy management; new national security architecture; heightened infrastructure development agenda, and clear, articulate and effective response to humanitarian
He submitted that “Anyone of our candidates who seeks the Office of President and Vice President who does not subscribe to these consensus issues, does not clearly understand the problems facing us as a country, has not thought about how these problems must be dealt with and cannot have the capacity and understanding to lead this country at this time”.
Dignitaries at the Summit, organised by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), in partnership with the Federal Government, included the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai; former Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; Federal Ministers, NESG officials, captains of industry and private sector leaders, members of the Diplomatic Corp, among others.
Chief Pascal Dozie, former Chairman of the NESG, gave an opening keynote speech.