President Muhammadu Buhari (7th Right) with Members of Economic Advisory Council, at Presidential Villa, Abuja Photo: Channels TV

EAC decries slow economic growth, urges Buhari to strengthen MDAs

Isola Moses

The Economic Advisory Council (EAC), in Nigeria, has raised concerns over the comparatively slow rate at which the nation’s economy is growing in recent times.

The team of experts called President Muhammadu Buhari’s attention to the situation during a meeting held Thursday, February 6, at the Presidential Villa, in Abuja, FCT.

Channels TV reports that the eight-member EAC, led by distinguished Professor Doyin Salami, at the meeting with Mr. President noted that the economy is improving at a slower pace compared to that of the nation’s estimated 200 million population.

Professor Salami, while presenting the Council’s report supported by interventions from other members, responded to questions by the President and his team.

They outlined some of the challenges facing the economy and proffered solutions to most of them.

Going forward

The Council asked the Federal Government to strengthen national statistical agencies, reform procurement processes and improve education.

It emphasised the need for job planning in training offered by academic institutions.

The EAC as well expressed its views on borrowing, macroeconomic stability, and the need to provide a friendly climate for foreign investments flowing into Nigeria.

“We need an environment that will attract investment.

“People will come only when they feel confident; and when they come, their exit will not be challenging,” Salami opined.

The Council resolved to focus on legacy projects by the Muhammadu Buhari Administration before 2023.

President Buhari, in his remark, gave a firm commitment that his administration would be bound by the Council’s advice on economy-related matters.

He, therefore, gave the first directive from EAC’s recommendations Mr. Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), should urgently address the lapses observed in coordination between ministries and all agencies of the government.

“The lack of synergy between Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) would no longer be accepted,” the President has warned in a statement by Garba Shehu, his media aide.

“We are working for the country, not for personal interests. We have the same objective of service to the people and we will resolve this,” the President declared.

The most delicate aspect

President Buhari, when reviewing the work of the EAC since its inauguration, stated that “I am highly pleased, based on what I have read in your Executive Summary with the painstaking thoroughness of your preliminary report.

“I have noted the salient points of your report, and these will be incorporated in government economic policies.”

The President also spoke about the challenges facing the economy and the tasks that rest on the shoulders of the members.

According to Buhari, the economy is the most delicate and sensitive of all aspects of national life, and a little change in the matrix can lead to major disruptions in the nation’s economy.

“For example, international changes in oil prices, bad harvests, conflicts in strategic global locations, a major epidemic or pandemic like the current Coronavirus, tariff changes in major world economies, to mention only a few examples that readily come to mind, can significantly affect our plans,” he noted.

He also urged the EAC to brief him more frequently, at least once every six weeks rather than once every quarter.

The President thanked the Council members for their patriotism and commitment in accepting the challenging responsibilities conferred on them.

Other memebers of the Council are Dr. Mohammed Sagagi, as Vice-Chairman, and six other economic experts as members.

They are Professor Ode Ojowu, Dr. Shehu Yahaya, Dr. Iyabo Masha, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, Dr. Bismack Rewane and Dr. Mohammed Salisu.

The two ministers in the Ministry of Finance also serve as co-opted members.

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