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We’re working to grow Nigeria’s economy as fast as China’s – Zainab Ahemed

Valentine Chinyem

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Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, budget and national planning, says the federal government is working towards growing the nation’s economy at a similar pace with China’s.

Speaking at a news conference on the forthcoming 25th Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja on Monday, Ahmed said there are plans for operational, regulatory and legislative interventions to move the country to the top 100 on the ease of doing business ranking.

According to the 2018 World Bank Ease of Doing Business ranking, Nigerian ranked 146, dropping a spot from its 145-rank in 2017.

She explained that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration had taken steps toward making the country investment-friendly and competitive.

She said part of this was the establishment of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), to address business constraints to support the diversification efforts.

Ahmed attributed Nigeria’s movement on the ranking to the implementation of business-focused policies.

“We have also established a competitiveness advisory council and special economic zones (SEZs) in the six geo-political zones, as a vehicle for partnering with the private sector,” Ahmed said.

“The initiative is in line with the modern trend of providing infrastructure to business clusters to improve and boost economic activities in such zones as found in China and other fast-growing economies.

“We believe that these initiatives will improve trade balances, investment and create jobs.”

She also said the government is willing to work with the private sector on commercially viable projects to expand transportation and other infrastructures that would make the country competitive for investment

She said the greatest challenge facing the government was inadequate revenue to execute its intended projects.

According to her, new sources of revenue is being identified and enhanced while coordination and cohesion among revenue generating agencies, is being improved.

She expressed hope that the summit would also assist in proffering solutions on how to maximise the large workforce, reap the demographic dividends and achieve a competitive economy that is inclusive.