My dream for Nigeria in 4 years - President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan has charged the Economic Management Team (EMT) to fast-track the implementation of the medium term plan in line with his commitment to the realisation of the Vision 2020:20, saying that he wanted to make Nigeria proud in four years.

The president, who was speaking while inaugurating the Federal Government’s Economic Management Team (EMT) at the State House, Abuja, on Thursday, stated that the people wanted to see improvements not only in terms of reduced inflation, higher economic growth and economic diversification, but also in job creation, better school enrolment, improved access to health care and a more sustainable environment.

Similarly, he observed that they were interested in regular and sustainable electricity supply, higher purchasing power, social infrastructure, “and in every sense, this is all about the economy.”

He told the team: “I want to be able to assure Nigerians at every turn, that in the next four years, we will make this country proud. Our task is to ensure that the country records unprecedented economic progress and our citizens see clear improvements in the quality of their lives. This is our commitment. “I expect this team to work with the vice-president and I to bring about such economic transformation that can clearly translate into better opportunities for our people. We must ensure better linkages between fiscal and monetary policies, provide a more enabling environment for private sector investment and continue to encourage the culture of entrepreneurship to thrive,” he stressed.

Jonathan pointed out that his administration had made substantial gains in its objective of accelerating the pace of economic development in the country over a short period of time, adding that with the EMT in place, and with the commitment of its members, “we will be in a vantage position to achieve a lot more.” While hammering on the need for the team to work together, he reminded the EMT that the goals and aspirations of his administration were to make Nigeria a better country, which could only be achieved if government personnel worked together as a team.

“This is important. In the meantime, I am quite pleased with the level of enthusiasm and comradeship that I observe among ministers and ministers of state but the value of all that can only be measured in terms of the quality of our outputs and how well we are able to meet the people’s expectations,” he said. He urged members of the EMT to combine their individual strengths, to generate ideas and initiatives in line with government’s goal of transforming every sector of Nigerian life and society, particularly the economy.

According to him, “the economy is, of course, at the heart of this administration’s transformational agenda. We are looking forward to greater fiscal discipline, a continuously improving framework to support local and international investors and effective macro-economic and monetary policies. Our emphasis should be one of inclusive growth and employment generation. Economic growth should necessarily translate into measurable benefits for our people.”

Furthermore, Jonathan advised that “what is required is a rededication of efforts and a sense of creative innovation. You have a very important assignment indeed. We will work to create the jobs that everyone needs to participate in the emerging Nigerian economy and to be assured of a better life. This should be the focus of the economic team.” Observing that the inauguration of the EMT marked the beginning of “an exciting collective journey in our attempt to strengthen the Nigerian economy,” the president reiterated that it was set up to coordinate the rapid growth of the economy and not to take over the responsibility of managing the various ministries under the leadership of the individual ministers.

“The success or failure of any ministry in attaining the goals we have set is, therefore, dependent on the leadership of the ministry headed by the minister and supported by the permanent secretaries,” he admonished.

Meanwhile, President Jonathan has called for a global regulation of small arms in order to check increasing cases of trans-border crimes, restiveness and insurgencies. He made the call while speaking during a farewell visit by the outgoing Finnish Ambassador to Nigeria, Ms Anneli Vuorine, at the State House, Abuja, on Thursday. The president observed that Finland and Nigeria shared similar positions on several global issues, such as the need to take global action to check the free movement of small arms, peacekeeping  operators and human trafficking.

He said “global regulation of the movement of small arms will help to check trans-border crimes and insurgencies,” adding that Nigeria would continue to canvass that position.
Jonathan congratulated the outgoing ambassador on stimulating trade relations between the two countries and her other achievements, and thanked her for these efforts. Speaking earlier, Ms Vuorine said she was impressed by “hard-working, devoted and inspiring Nigerians” she met during her three-year stay in the country, adding that her tenure was “interesting and historic.”

The envoy congratulated President Jonathan on the success of Nigeria’s conflict resolution and peace-building activities in West Africa, and said efforts were ongoing to utilise Nigeria’s facilities for joint peacekeeping training.