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Business & Finance

Osinbajo: Nigeria Can Build Solid Economy Without Oil

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The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday, said that the country had everything needed to build and sustain a vibrant economy in spite of the drop in global oil prices.

The vice-president said this during an interactive meeting with a group of international investors at the State House, a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity to the Vice-President, Mr Laolu Akande, said.

Akande stated that the interaction involved global investors from companies, including Renaissance Capital, Russia-China Investment Fund, China Africa Development Fund, Invest Abu Dhabi, Actis, Emerging Capital Partners, ECP, KKR & Co. LP, Old Mutual of South Africa.

The senior special assistant quoted Osinbajo as saying “this country has practically what it takes to run a solid economy that is not dependent on oil, but on business and commerce.’’

According to the vice-president, President Muhammadu Buhari has already given the mandate to ensure that conducive environment is created for business investments in the country.

He added that work had already started, with government looking at the different aspects involved.

The Vice President, alongside Dr Okey Enelamah, the Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment, also met with the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Ranking Team.

At the meeting, issues were laid out and specific lines of action identified on how to improve the business climate in the country.

The vice president explained that working with the state governments, the Buhari presidency would ensure that issues such as pre-investment approvals and land titles were reformed to attain ease in doing business in the country.

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He explained that where necessary, government would rationalise agencies involved in granting approvals, thus creating space for businesses to thrive.

Regarding the critical role of electricity in creating a conducive business environment, the vice president said the Federal Government would continue making further investments in the sector.

He said the entire power value chain would have to be well compensated in order to produce the needed results.

Osinbajo also restated the commitment of the Buhari administration to create jobs through businesses and direct government action to engage the youth.

He said the 500,000 teaching positions for unemployed graduates proposed in the 2016 budget was a means of engaging the youths in paid voluntary occupations in their communities until such a time when they could find jobs in their different disciplines.

Besides, he noted, the programme would address the critical need for teachers in the public school system.

Osinbajo further said that the Federal Government would create opportunities for about 370,000 youths who were not graduates to receive vocational training and acquire skills, while one million artisans and market women would receive soft loans through the Bank of Industry (BoI) as already proposed in the 2016 budget.

Former Minister of National Planning, Alhaji Shamsudeen Usman led the delegation of the international investors, while Dr Rachid Benmessoud, the Nigeria Country Director of the World Bank led the bank’s Ease of Doing Business Ranking Team.

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