Posted in Politics, Religion

Pastor Adeboye, FRC Boss Sack, and the clash of RCCG Pastors in Buhari’s Govt

Many who had followed closely the Nigeria political landscape in the recent time would have known that controversy will trail the news of the “stepping aside” of Pastor Enoch Adeboye; one of the most powerful and highly connected Pastor of Nigeria Pentecostal Megachurch, Redeemed Christian Church of God RCCG that Andrew Rice, writing in The New York Times, calls “one of [Africa’s] most vigorously expansionary religious movements. However, what many did not know is that the fight is purely between RCCG Pastors.

Pastor Enoch Adeboye is the General Overseer or what is his current status now, FRCN Boss Jim Obazee was a former Zonal Pastor of the RCCG according to a competent source within the church inner circle that revealed that to naij.com was not unanticipated was suspended some years back and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Pastor Okechukwu Enelamah of same RCCG. The minister was the only candidate nominated by Vice President Osinbajo also a senior pastor of RCCG.

Many sentiments were raised by Nigerians. Audaciously, some highly placed citizens and officeholders insisted that President Muhammad Buhari led APC Government is deliberately “dabbling” into Church leadership. They ignore the fact that in the current issue at hand, the only one was is not a Pastor is probably President Buhari. Some when ahead to argue that If Adeboye has to retire as GO because of FRCN shouldn’t the Sultan also go as President of Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs?

Some posited that why implement a Governance Code that has been suspended and that thus no need to comply. Trust Nigerians, when it comes to religious matter sentiments are in top gear. So one will be less surprised some section of the public speculated that the law is targeted at weakening the church and make it vulnerable to attack from the imaginary enemies of the Church in the presidency.

The FRCN Code

In 3rd Day of June 2011, the Senate passed the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria Bill which created the Financial Reporting Council. The FRC replaced the defunct Nigeria Accounting Standard Board (NASB) then under Jim Obazee who subsequently became FRCN Executive Secretary.

In an act to repeal the Nigerian Accounting Standards Board Act, No.22 of 2003 and enact the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, The FRC was charged with the responsibility for, among other things, developing and publishing accounting and financial reporting standards to be observed in the preparation of financial statement of public entities in Nigeria and for related matters.

The council was expected to – ensure good corporate governance practices in the public and private sectors of the economy.

It must be stated at this junction that the Code is applicable to all Not-for-Profit Organisations NFPOs in Nigeria whatever the description or nomenclature adopted and not to cut Pastor Adeboye or RCCG to size as some people have erroneous posited recently.

Though, the extreme diversity of the sector renders impossible comprehensive listing, but some illustrative examples of such organisations include Charitable, Educational, Professional and Scientific, Religious, Literary/Artistic, Political /Administrative Grouping, Social and recreational clubs and Associations, Trade Unions and Others.

Now, let’s go to the corporate governance codes (for Non-Profit) itself. The code tries to do is to first enforce the minimum requirements of Part C of the CAC under which religious organisation are registered.

For instance, religious bodies are supposed to make Annual Returns of its Financial Statements to CAC after the audit. Not for Profits also needs to organise yearly Annual General Meetings where they present their annual financial statement to its members. It reinforces the legal fact that any entity that collects money must “render accounts”. Whether a bank, a business owner or a religious body.

There appears to be no dispute about this requirement even among religious organisations. However, there is the small issue of Tax. Should religious organisations be taxed when they engage in “For Profit” activities even if that activity is for the benefit of the organisations?

Obazee and his team maintained that they must be taxed if they engaged in activities designed to extract financial benefit.

 “If they pursue non-charitable activities running schools, hospitals, they are to account for them separately as profit-making entities” Jim Obazee insisted.

This is one of d areas of conflict as many Churches have subsidiaries under them that have blurred the lines between charity and profitability. The second and the obviously most contentious issue have to do with Tenure of the Founder. Now this is exactly what the code says.

Should the FRC code be suspended?

It must be understood that for an NGO, there are 3 governance organs: The Board of Trustees, The Governing Board and The Management Committee.  Now typically, and in most cases, the founder usually occupies the position of the head of these 3 organs at the same time. So the code prescribes that

  1. The founder can only Head one of these organs
  2. If he already heads all of them, he needs to relinquish two of the organs.
  3. If he has served as head of any of those organs for than 20 years and is then 70, he must resign expect for Board of Trustees.

Even with these provisions, the code recognises the unique position of founders as the “Spiritual Leader” of their organisations. Meaning the code does not in any way invalidate the spiritual authority which these organs subscribe to and to which they derive their relevance.

The notion that these codes should not be applicable to churches as their matters are celestial and not terrestrial is utterly ridiculous.

If they are celestial as said by a SAN, then why seek registration under Part C of the CAC Laws? Why not just go to heaven to get registered? And if they make money in Nigeria, they have to pay their tax and not in heaven.

These organisations are legal entities known to law. They can sue and be sued. They can exist or cease to exist. They are very terrestrial. They are charitable organisations that survive on gifts and donations. They need to be transparent and accountable. This must be emphasised.

Why suspend a law that it will help the country and the religious bodies to separate the wheat from the shaft and bring transparency to the church and the Mosques so that we will all be accountable before Man and later before God.

The Church, the FRC and Jim Obazee

Ab initio many stakeholders had issues with some provisions within the code but they were given the opportunity to make submissions.  The FRC was thereafter sued by some Pastors representing the Pentecostal churches in July 2015. They sought six reliefs among which were: a declaration that the Not-for-Profit Codes 2015 were illegal and unconstitutional.

The Pastors argued that it amounts to duplication of the functions of the Corporate Affairs Commission CAC that the Term of reference in section 1, as well as sections 8,9,10 and 37, are illegal and unconstitutional being inconsistent with section 7 and 8 of FRC Act

Needless to say, the plaintiffs who claimed to be representing Pentecostals lost the case in court as the court ruled in favour of FRC.  In light of the court order in its favour, the FRC went ahead to Release the Governance Codes effective from 17 Oct 2016.

It came with a mandatory compliance for Private Sector and ”Comply or Justify non-compliance” for Not-For-Profit organisations.

The Clash between the Minister and the Sacked FRC Boss

Few hours after the news of ‘stepping aside’ Pastor Adeboye broke, strong indications emerged that the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Okechukwu  Enelamah, and the Executive Secretary  of the Financial Regulatory Council of Nigeria, Mr. Jim Obazee, were engaged in a face-off over an FRCN regulation, which stipulates   20  years tenure  for heads of   religious groups   and civil society groups in the country.

The Minister was reported to have written FRC boss now former, directing him to suspend the implementation of the regulation. But it was learnt that Obazee defied the instruction of the minister, insisting that the implementation of the regulation would go ahead.

Findings showed that Obazee said the implementation of the regulation could not be suspended because there was no gazette that indicated that it had been amended or suspended.

It was gathered that though the minister’s letter to the FRC boss was written on October 17, 2016, the council had insisted on the resignation of heads of other affected groups.

In the three-paged query to the FRC seen by BusinessDay and signed by Okechukwu Enelamah, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, the supervisory ministry to the Financial Reporting Council, it was asked to provide among others the regulatory approach that undergirds the Code; the clear conflict between provisions of the Code and the Legislation –Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria Act, 2011.

As a strategic document, FRC was also asked to provide evidence of the adoption of the Code by the Board of the Council and the Minutes of the meeting at which the Code was adopted by the Board.

Among other questioned raised, Financial Reporting Council is to tell the Federal Government whether the committee on Corporate Governance, in Section 51 of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria Act, 2011, empowered to issue the Code of Corporate Governance, in a position to act in the absence of the Board of the Council in the light of provisions of Sections 2 (1) and 10 (d) of the Act.

The Federal Government recognises that an enabling environment for business is critical to the rejuvenation and sustainable growth of Africa’s biggest economy. The environment will demand careful, deliberate, strategic and informed actions at addressing the impediments to doing business in Nigeria.

An informed source told BusinessDay that Financial Reporting Council was meant to understand that any regulation to be introduced must align with the philosophy underpinning the ease of doing business undertaking; noting that it is therefore entirely possible that the imperatives of the Code can and must be reconciled with the demands of ease of doing business.

Base on the foregoing, Federal Government directed that the implementation of the National Code of Corporate Governance be suspended forthwith to allow for the effective and proper resolutions of substantive and procedural concerns arising from the reported issuance of the Code, our source further disclosed.

Also, the Federal Government queried whether the Code can supersede the Legislation from where it originates. Financial Reporting Council was also asked to provide relevant answers relating to the conflict between provisions of the Code –which is a subsidiary legislation, and a principal enactment – the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA).

The now ex-Executive Secretary of the Financial Reporting Council had last month issued the Code it referred to as the “National Code of Corporate Governance for the Private Sector in Nigeria 2016” claiming it became effective from October 17, 2016.

The issue that most concern me now is whether or not a minister has the power to suspend the activities of an agency known to Law. My take is that there are legal grounds to challenge the powers the FRC seems to be flexing. And we must pursue this to its logical end.

Recall that this was the same agency used to illegally suspend a sitting CBN Governor. So the FRC as constituted is not without freckles. My final take is that these governance codes are in the interest of the church and we should embrace it rather than fight it.

Thanks for following. Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions.

The Minister and his RCCG link

Among the 37 nominees put forward by the various interests groups within the presidency, Pastor Okechukwu Enelamah was the only candidate nominated by Vice President Osinbajo a senior pastor of RCCG. So just like the Vice President Osinbajo, the Minister; Okey Enelamah is a Pastor and active in his local church, serving his congregation in a pastoral capacity.

According to Jumi Rhodes list of ordained pastors in RCCG who are in Buhari’s government aside from the Vice President are Mr. Babatunde Fowler – Ag. Chairman, Federal Internal Revenue Service(FIRS), Pastor Ben Akabueze – Special Adviser on Planning to the President, Pastor Laolu Akande – Spokesman to Nigeria’s Vice President
and the Minister in question, Pastor Okechukwu Enelamah; the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment.

People have tried to link the fact the Minister is also a Pastor in RCCG to speculate on his true intentions, but to be fair to him there was nothing in his letter that suggested he was pushing a disguised church or RCCG agenda. But it will not be out of place to speculate that his religious link can also play part in his insistence.

His letter was in line with concerns of the private sector than it was about concerns of leadership and succession for the church or other religion organisation. The FRC refused to honour the suspension request on the basis that it was not gazette.

With this foregoing alone, one can safely conclude that it is not correct to say “PMB administration is “Dabbling in Church Leadership to weaken it”. It’s clearly not true.

If anything, the evidence available to us points to the fact that President Buhari may be trying to ensure that the code in its present form is not implemented.

It appears that the President Buhari might be under intense pressure to sack Jim Obazee because of some “EFCC troubles” of his own. But like some people put it, many Ministers and appointees of the President have at one point or other embarrassed the regime and they were not sacked immediately.

Nevertheless, one may need to sympathies with President Buhari for his long persecution by religious bigots despite being surrounded by Pastors. However, the dogged protagonist of rule of law ought not to be made a sacrificial lamp by a government that pride itself on the anti-corruption and transparency tenet. Again, it is insubordination for the Executive Secretary not to have obeyed his Coordinating Minister but a sledgehammer on that premise appears too harsh.

By Ibrahim Ola Balogun

Policy Analyst and Social Commentator

Originally Published of The Rezponder

 

Posted in Health, Latest News

Trapped in Serbia, migrants seek refuge in derelict warehouse

More than 1,000 migrants, trapped in Serbia after fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Central Asia, have occupied a derelict warehouse in the capital Belgrade, where they are preparing to tough out a bitter Balkan winter.

More than 100,000 migrants have passed through Serbia this year, from countries such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, to seek sanctuary in the wealthy countries of northern Europe. But border closures have left many stranded.

“We want to go to Italy, Germany, France, but the border is closed at Hungary and Croatia,” said Najib, who said he was from Afghanistan.

Around him, men warmed their hands on camp fires, as smoke drifted up into the high rafters, and others perched on car tyres as they washed at a makeshift sink in a vain attempt to keep away the filth of the tumbledown building.

Last year, hundreds of thousands of refugees swept through the Balkans, prompting countries to throw up near-impenetrable barriers to block them. More than 6,400 refugees are trapped in Serbia, 1,200 of them in this warehouse, aid workers say.

Some who had made it further north said they were beaten by police at the Hungarian border and sent back to Belgrade. Many had Serbian documents telling them they had no grounds to remain – but few have the means to return home.

“Here, look at this place, it’s very dirty. I become sick,” said Imrar Khan, 17, who left Pakistan three months ago. Dozens of migrants bed down in rows between piles of garbage in the warehouse, near the city’s central station.

Authorities blame people traffickers for much of the influx. Since the beginning of the year, they have prevented 5,000 illegal border crossings and charged 356 people with the smuggling of around 2,000 people.

Posted in Latest News, Report

Iraqis are world’s most generous to strangers – global survey

More than half of people in 140 countries surveyed had helped strangers – with the most generous in countries hit by disaster and war

Although torn by civil war, Iraq is the world’s most generous country towards strangers in need, according to a new global index of charitable giving.

Eighty one percent of Iraqis reported helping someone they didn’t know in the previous month, in a global poll commissioned by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).

For the first time since CAF began the poll in 2010, more than half of people in 140 countries surveyed said they had helped strangers – with many of the most generous found in countries hit hard by disaster and war.

Despite suffering instability and violence, Iraq has twice been ranked top in terms of helping strangers. Libya, with its own internal conflict, was second on the list this year and Somalia, embroiled in civil war for 25 years, fourth.

Image result for Iraqis are world's most generous to strangers - global survey

“I think that the lesson here is societies are incredibly resilient and that large scale disasters tend to activate a collective humanitarian response,” said Adam Pickering, international policy manager at CAF, which promotes charitable giving.

In terms of donations to charity, Myanmar held the top position, with nine out of ten surveyed saying had they given during the previous month.

The Southeast Asian country also retained its position for the third year at the top of the World Giving Index – a combined measure of respondents reporting help to strangers, donations of money and time spent volunteering.

The report said the generous giving reflected the practice of “Sangha Dana”, where the country’s Theravada Buddhist majority donate to support those living a monastic lifestyle.

The United States ranked second on the combined measure of generosity.

The World Giving Index is based on data form a global poll by market research firm Gallup of 140 countries.

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation

Posted in Business, Entrepreneurship, Latest News

Economic Recession: How businesses can create value in difficult times

We are experiencing tough economic times in Nigeria, and many sectors of business have been brutally affected by the recession, which has naturally resulted in rising costs of goods, and consumers spending less. Now is the time when consumers want to get real value for their money and spend it on what they regard as necessary and lasting. At the end of the short stick are the small business owners who have to adjust to rising inflation, a high cost of running a business and consumers’ regressing spending habits.

The journey of an entrepreneur is an unpredictable one – satisfying and sometimes joyless. In these times, the big issues that create obstacles and impede growth such as inadequate power, security and high cost of doing business have escalated. The recession has somewhat created competition for the little resources.

However, small business owners have an opportunity to keep their businesses going. This may not result in the profits that they have gained prior to these times, but it would gain them the one thing that they need to stay afloat – consistent business. How best to accomplish consistent business than providing what consumers want – value.

What is value? In this case, it is focusing and improving on the little things that they can control; the things that they can influence, the things that do not require government intervention; improving people and their internal operations to keep them operative. It is not a guarantee for success; however, it can make a big difference.

It must be stated that the one aspect the small business owner requires no government intervention is satisfying the customer. Without customers, there is no business. Therefore, the customer is the means to create and offer value to keep businesses afloat. The benefit is the opportunity to establish lifetime value customers, who will serve as a lifeline, and whose patronage can ensure growth and stability. These are just one part of the strategy to make head way in a bad economy.

Whether or not small business owners can afford to hire staff, the following are points for reflection on how to create value that can affect customers and business sustainability.

Five-Star customer service: We associate a five-star rating as an endorsement of the level of quality service rendered by a business. The hospitality businesses, the movie businesses, among others, are one for the few sectors, known to require such rating. The financial services rating resemble grading scores +A, B etc. The point is offering value requires offering five-star customer services. If customers are going to be selective because they have a choice where they purchase goods and service, the question is: are small businesses poised to be the one that the customers stick with? Customer service is an experiential process; it’s about relationships. Small business owners should invest more in their relationships as part of offering value. Naturally, people make repeated purchases owing to familiarity, comfort and convenience. A customer would rather do business with someone they feel they can relate with, than an entity where they can just purchase things. Therefore, small business owners should double down on building quality relationships.

Invest in training: Technical know-how and knowledge always need an upgrade. When an economy takes a turn for the worse, it is usual that small businesses cut back, and this may result in the loss of jobs. Regardless, a bad economy also presents opportunities. This is a time to be innovative: to seek ways to improve operations, to run leaner, and to invest in upgrading skills or acquiring new ones, or creating a new service. As the economy improves, those who have invested in these could come out on top.

This is a situation whereby the cup is either viewed as half-full or half-empty. There is a good story about how to see “opportunity”. It’s about two men from two different shoe companies who visited a town in the hinterland to find opportunities to set up a factory. When they got there, they both saw people walking around barefoot. One sales man reported back that it was arid land because the people wore no shoes; the second sales man reported that because people wore no shoes, it was a great opportunity to establish a factory to make and sell shoes. Investing in training and knowledge can make us the second shoe salesman.

Get rid of bottlenecks: Technology has enabled small businesses to work faster and more efficiently. This is a chance to offer convenience and comfort. When a small business creates layers and layers of processes for customers to get products or answers, they raise barriers between them and the customers, which is the opposite of offering value.

Creatively solving problems: When customers encounter problems with products or services, they expect to get solutions from the business that they patronise. The take-back policy, or warranty after purchase, is not applied by many Nigerian businesses because the cost of a replacement may affect their bottom line. However, there must be alternative creative solutions to help customers, otherwise, they may likely move on to another business they perceive can solve their problems, even if at a higher premium, and give them value.

This is not an exhaustive list. But the point is, by offering high value to customers, constraints can spring opportunity. Small businesses can create opportunities to manage downtime and improve on it. Value is about the small details, not an elaborate showcase of goods and services. It’s about making investments in the business and the people, with an end goal in mind – attracting lifetime value customers in a downtime and beyond.

Posted in Business, energy, Latest News

Dangote acquires gas processing company in Netherlands

Dangote Industries Limited (DIL) has completed the acquisition of Twister B.V., a gas processing company headquartered in the Netherlands.
Twister B.V. used to be owned by Shell Technology Ventures Fund 1, before its recent acquisition by DIL along with its partner – First E&P.

A statement yesterday from DIL said the acquired company would help design and build the gas plants which would be critical in processing gas from oil fields for transportation via Dangote’s planned sub-sea pipeline (EWOGGS) for ultimate consumption by various industries and power plants.
Aliko Dangote, President & CEO of Dangote Industries Limited said, “This was an important acquisition for us. Twister’s cutting edge gas processing technology is fundamental to delivering our strategy to unlock about 3bcfd of gas in order to meet Nigeria’s gas needs.”

Image result for gas-processing-company
Twister’s CEO, John Young said, “We are delighted in the confidence DIL and First E&P have shown in Twister to be their core provider of gas separation solutions. After a very thorough due diligence, our technology has been recognised as a key enabler to reduce gas project costs which is crucial in this current environment. We are excited to be part of the Dangote family of companies.”

It would be recalled that the refinery and fertilizer projects of Dangote Industries Limited are reported to have the capacity of creating a minimum of 235,000 new jobs – both direct and indirect jobs – as it becomes operational in the first quarter of 2019.
Aliko Dangote, who revealed this recently, also stated that the projects would cost a minimum of $17 billion.

Dangote said the $12 billion refinery would have a capacity of 650,000 barrels a day.
He assured that there would be the market for the refined products because even in Africa, only three countries had effective functioning refinery with others importing from abroad.
He said: “Our refinery will be ready in the first quarter of 2019. Mechanical completion will be end of 2018 but we will start producing in 2019.”

When the projects fully take off in 2019, Dangote said it would help the country save $5 billion spent on the importation of oil into the country.

Posted in Business, Environment, Latest News

The Galaxy Note 7 is dead

…As Samsung ends production after issuing worldwide recall

Samsung has announced it’s ending production of the Galaxy Note 7 around the world, pulling the plug on the phone after a months-long controversy over its defective, dangerous batteries. “Taking our customer’s safety as our highest priority, we have decided to halt sales and production of the Galaxy Note 7,” said Samsung in a statement. The announcement follows yesterday’s news that the company is recalling all Note 7 devices, including the supposedly safe replacement phones.

Samsung issued the worldwide recall yesterday after at at least five replacement Note 7 handsets caught fire over the past week. “Samsung will ask all carrier and retail partners globally to stop sales and exchanges of the Galaxy Note 7,” said the company yesterday. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission commended the decision, with chairman Elliot Kaye saying: “It is the right move for Samsung to suspend the sale and exchange of all Galaxy Note 7s.”

“TAKING OUR CUSTOMER’S SAFETY AS OUR HIGHEST PRIORITY.”

Consumers using any Note 7 (including replacement units) are urged to power them down immediately and return them to wherever they were originally purchased. Carriers have issued statements letting customers know that replacement Note 7s can be exchanged for another handset from Samsung or other manufacturers.

The Note 7 was originally released in August to highly positive reviews, but before the month was out, the first reports of the phone’s battery catching fire began to emerge. Samsung issued a recall of the original device on September 2nd and that same month began shipping out replacement Note 7s to carriers. However, these too have proved to be a fire risk, leading to the company’s expected — but still momentous — decision to cease production altogether.

Although Samsung and the rest of the mobile industry will be dissecting what exactly went wrong here for years to come, early reports suggest that the fault might have been caused by the Korean company’s desire to beat this year’s ‘dull’ iPhone. Samsung is certainly not out of the mobile business despite this disaster, but recovery will be slow. The company’s shares tumbled eight percent today, its biggest one-day decline in nearly a decade, with analysts estimating the recall could end up costing as much as $17 billion.

Samsung has recalled 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 smartphones just a couple of weeks after they went on sale due to safety concerns with the battery. There have been 35 reported cases of phones either exploding or catching fire, and Samsung is recalling all of the units it has produced so far.

The company says it has identified a problem with the battery cell and will be rectifying it in the coming weeks. That means that if you’ve already bought a Note 7, you should probably return it or exchange it when Samsung has released an updated model that’s considered safe.

Posted in Business, Latest News

FG To Promote Production, Consumption Of Local Goods

Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, has disclosed that the Federal Government is working with the private sector and relevant stakeholders to encourage production and consumption of Made-in-Nigeria goods and services even as the vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo described Dangote Group as a game changer to the Nigerian economy.

Speaking at the opening of 22nd edition of the Nigerian Economic Summit (NES) yesterday in Abuja with the theme: “Made-in-Nigeria,’’ Udoma said with more patronage of Made-in-Nigeria goods and services, producers would be encouraged to improve quality and create jobs for the teeming youth.

Udoma-Udoma

He said, “There is no doubt that one of the fastest routes to grow our economy and create jobs is by encouraging our people to produce more and export more.This strategy will also generate foreign exchange that can help in stabilising and strengthening the Naira.’’

According to him, the government would start taking steps to encourage its officials to buy Made-in-Nigeria products. He said the government would also continue to improve the enabling environment for businesses to thrive in the country. “We will continue, among other things, to prioritise our spending towards critical infrastructure in order to improve Nigerian competitiveness. Government agencies will work with the private sector to support research with a view to develop high quality indigenous products and technologies.

“Many of our programmes have been structured in such a way as to stimulate domestic production. For instance, our School Feeding Programme will utilise only locally grown and produced food items. But much more needs to be done by both the public sector and the private sector to encourage and support local production,’’ he said.

Udoma, however, urged the stakeholders to come up with practical roadmap that would contextualise “Made in Nigeria” as an economic growth and development strategy for our short, medium and long term development.

Also, Mr Kyari Bukar, Chairman of Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) said the summit has overtime become a platform to discuss and understand economic policies in the country in the past 22 years.

Bukar commended the government for implementing some of the recommendations of NES 21 which included diversification of the economy.

He urged the government to implement more of those recommendations to help the country move out of the current economic recession.

The Chairman said that the theme of the summit would be used to embody the imperative to commit to the structural and fiscal change required to strengthen the economy.

“Past summits have made recommendations on self-sufficiency in local production and an export-driven economy.

“With our current economic realities, this is the perfect opportunity to articulate a national discussion on Made-in-Nigeria to become an economic growth and development agenda.

“It will also seek to work out strategies to achieve self-sufficiency and value-addition capacities for several products and services in the shortest possible time,’’ he said.

Also speaking at the Summit, Vice President Osinbajo said Dangote Group is an example of a game changer private sector that has been supporting the economy in many areas, saying “Once the Dangote refinery comes on stream, it will help with the forex issue and create jobs for our people.”

Osinbajo, who was referring to the ongoing construction of the Dangote Refinery with the capacity to refine 650,000 barrels a day, said the government is proud that a Nigerian company has undertaken to construct such a gigantic refinery which is the largest in the world.

He said the Muhammadu Buhari led government has a very clear policy and objective, urging Nigerians to have confidence in the government change mantra.

Declaring the summit open, President Muhammadu Buhari said the private sector is key to his administration, adding that the theme for the 22nd summit, ‘Made in Nigeria’, is apt in view of the need to look inwardly and support local manufacturers.

An associate professor from the Lagos Business School, Doyin Salami said the made in Nigeria concept was apt adding that it must cover production, global competitiveness, inclusiveness and value addition to global economy.

On his part, the minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi said his ministry is bringing in big ticket player into the mining sector, just as he said that the sector has great potentials as Nigeria diversifies its economy.

The Dangote Group is one of the major sponsors of the three-day Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja.

The NESG was incorporated in 1996 as non-profit, private sector organisation with a mandate to promote and champion the reform of Nigerian economy into an open, private sector-led globally competitive economy. The summit is organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Budget and National Planning.