Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has expressed optimism that things will turn around in Nigeria in 12 months if all Nigerians remain focused.
He stated this at the third meeting of the Presidential Quarterly Business Forum for 2017 held on Tuesday at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
“I have no doubt in my mind that if we are focused even in the next 12 to 18 months, if we are focused, we will certainly see a turn around,” Osinbajo said in his remarks at the forum, which had captains of industry from all parts of Nigeria in attendance.
He said government was working diligently to ensure that conducive environment was provided for businesses in Nigeria.
He said: “Day after day, night after night we are working on these things. Practically every night we work on these issues.”
The acting president gave the assurance of the President Buhari administration’s commitment to delivering on its promises.
He said “I think we have the right environment at least in terms of government discipline and all of that, to be able to deliver on the promises that we have made. And all I will just want to say to the private sector is be sure that we have enough willing and able partners.
“And that commitment must come from government and must of course also the private sector.
What we have done is that we have identified certain critical things that must be done.”
He said government was working in the areas stabilizing the macroeconomic environment, ensuring energy sufficiency, improving transportation infrastructure as well as achieving agriculture and food security.
“On each and every one of these items, certainly progress is being made, and of course fighting corruption, controlling government expenditure, controlling leakages and all of that,” he said.
He said despite the constraints in Nigeria, business could still make progress in the country.
Presentations were made by the Ministers of Finance, Power, Works and Housing as well as the Minister of State for Petroleum.
In her presentation, the Minister Finance, Kemi Adeosun, urged businesses to take advantage of the grace period offered by government in through the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme, VAIDS, and regularize their tax obligation to government.
She said the present tax to GDP ratio in Nigeria is about six percent, which is lower than the Sub-Saharan African ratio, making it difficult for government to fund budget.
Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, spoke on electricity tariff and the need to review it, make it transparent and less complex for consumer to understand the methodology for arriving at it.
He said government was intervening in different areas of the power sector to make it more efficient.
According to him, government was working to keep the minimum generation at 4,000 MW, reduce losses, provide proper metering and address the issue of the quality of government representation in the generation companies.
Also making his presentation, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, spoke on the correlation between gas supply and the electricity generation, stating that government was working to stabilize the production.
He said the drive of government in the National Gas Policy is to ensure that the gas supply to the power sector is Nigeria’s “number one priority.”
The focus of the Third Presidential Quarterly Business Forum for 2017 was on revenue generation through tax and the power sector.