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PMB’s Speech At Today’s Cabinet Retreat On The Economy

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Photo Credit: State House, Abuja

ADDRESS
BY PRESIDENT BUHARI AT THE MINISTERIAL RETREAT ON THE ECONOMY AND THE
BUDGET AT THE STATE HOUSE BANQUET HALL, ABUJA, SEPTEMBER 15, 2016.

PROTOCOLS:

I am delighted to be here with you at this Ministerial Retreat on the
Economy and the Budget. The theme of the Retreat which is “Building
Inter-ministerial Synergy for Effective Planning and Budgeting in
Nigeria” is very apt and timely, especially as we are in the process of
developing the 2017 Budget.

2. Over the years, there has been
a mismatch between planned targets and budgetary outcomes at the
National and sectorial levels. The Federal MDAs have not also benefited
significantly from working together and building consensus around
common national objectives. This has impeded growth and development of
the country.

3. It is in this context that this Retreat has
been designed to discuss issues around the State of the Economy and
build consensus amongst Cabinet Members and top Government officials.
The Retreat will also serve as an opportunity to have a general overview
of the economy and discuss the framework for the 2017 Budget, its key
priorities and deliverables.

4. This Retreat is coming at a
critical time in our economic history, when the Nigerian economy is in a
recession, with significant downturn in performance in various sectors.
It is with regard to the importance of this Retreat that I decided to
sit through the first part of the session to listen to the views from
experienced economists and development experts on how best to implement
our plans to rid the country of its oil dependence and to diversify the
economy and bring the country out of the current economic recession.

5. This is in line with our Administration’s determination to lay a
solid foundation for growth and development as outlined in the
Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) of our Change Agenda.

6.
Given that this Retreat is a lead-up to the 2017 Budget, my expectation
is that we will come out of the these sessions with a determination and
common position on how to have improved synergy amongst the various
Ministries and Departments for the effective formulation and
implementation of the 2017 Budget.

7. I also trust that the
breakout sessions will enable you to discuss extensively amongst
yourselves, the details of the four sub-themes and come up with
practical solutions on the way forward in order to come out with a set
of prioritized projects and programmes that will fit into the 2017
Budget.

8. In this regard, let me inform you that because of
the need to focus on our key priorities, some Ministries may get
significantly less capital allocation than they received in 2016, while
others may get significantly more.

9. You may notice that
some key non-spending agencies, such as the Infrastructure Concession
Regulatory Commission (ICRC), the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE),
the National Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) and the National
Pension Commission (PENCOM), are participants at this Retreat.

10. This deliberate inclusion underscores the commitment of this
Administration to leverage on private sector resources, through Public
Private Partnerships (PPP) and other arrangements, in order to augment
the scarce budgetary resources at our disposal and to accelerate
investments in building critical infrastructure.

11. Indeed,
the challenges we face in the current recession require ‘out-of-the-box’
thinking, to deploy strategies that involve engaging meaningfully with
the private sector, to raise the level of private sector investment in
the economy as a whole.

12. We are confident that the level of
private investment will grow as we are determined to make it easier to
do business in Nigeria by the reforms we are introducing under the
auspices of the Presidential Committee on Ease of Doing Business.

13. Let me reiterate that this Government will continue to strategize
on how we can turn the current challenges into opportunities for our
nation and especially for our vibrant youth on whose shoulders lies the
future of this nation. This is why we have embarked on measures and
actions that will open up the opportunities we have seen in the Power,
Housing, Agriculture, Mining, Trade and Investment, Information
Communication Technology (ICT) Sectors, Tourism, Transport and other
sectors.

14. I wish to reassure its teeming youth that this
Government would remain steadfast in its effort to ensure greater
progress and prosperity for you.

15. While Government is taking
the lead in the task of repositioning our economy for Change, we cannot
achieve this completely by ourselves. We will need, and we ask for the
support and cooperation of the private sector’s domestic and foreign
investors, the States and Local Governments, the National Assembly and
the Judiciary as well as all well-meaning Nigerians in this important
task. We are confident that working together, we shall succeed.

16. Finally, I trust that the cabinet members will learn from the
experiences of the Resource persons and facilitators to prioritise their
sector programmes and projects to bring the country out of the current
economic recession and place it on the path of growth and development.

17. I therefore urge the Honourable Ministers and other senior
government officials here present, to actively participate in the Second
Technical Session, which I believe will provide you with deeper insight
into the complex issues that will open opportunities for you to
identify critical priority projects and programmes for the 2017 Budget.

18. At this juncture, may I formally recognize and acknowledge the
presence of the array of experts invited to serve as resource persons
and facilitators at this Retreat. I am confident that Ministers and
Senior Government officials will benefit immensely from your expertise
and wealth of experience.

19. I wish you all fruitful deliberations and look forward to receiving the report of the Retreat.

20. Thank you.

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