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Govt agencies should stop extorting businesses –Osinbajo



Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said on  Friday that government agencies needed to stop milking businesses in order to improve Nigeria’s prospects of climbing higher on the Ease of Doing Business Index.

He stated government’s aspiration of bettering the Nigeria’s status by making it feature in the top 100 nations on the World Bank-backed international rating at the virtual edition of the Presidential Policy Dialogue arranged by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Private sector should be in the vanguard of the nation’s economic transformation and expansion, Mr Osinbajo said, urging it to leverage government’s Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP).

“The opportunities that now exist in the short-term in agriculture, infrastructural development, housing construction, in renewable energy, digital technology development, mining, financial inclusion, healthcare and pharmaceutical manufacturing call for the private sector to take the bull by the horn and make them a reality.

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“The government developed the Economic Sustainability Plan with a stimulus package of N2.3tn to give fillip to the economy across various sectors. Based on the assumption of the price of crude averaging out at $30 per barrel throughout the year, we anticipate an economic growth of about -0.59% in 2020.”

He said government’s focus in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak would be on averting recession by way of harmonising stimulus measures to help local businesses, maintain and create employment, and improve the living conditions of the most vulnerable.

Even though the rescue package is only around 1.5 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product, it is the best the Nigerian government could offer in light of the current economic downturn, Osinbajo said.

The ESP seeks to encourage the deployment of labour-intensive approaches and direct labour efforts in sectors and sub-sectors such as agriculture, light manufacturing, housing construction and family maintenance.

It also plans to ramp up infrastructural investment in roads, solar power, bridges and communications technologies.

“It is intended to do all this while extending protection to the poor and other vulnerable groups in our society,” the vice president said.

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