President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday maintained that Nigeria will leave no stone unturned and continue to reinforce its defences against terrorism.
He made the remark during the opening ceremony of the Honourary International Investor Council (HIIC) meeting at the Banquet Hall of the State House, Abuja.
Jonathan, who was represented by Vice President Namadi Sambo, said that his administration is committed to securing the lives and properties of Nigerians and other residents in the country.
He said: “This administration remains committed to ensuring security of the lives and property of Nigerians and all those that reside in this country. Our security forces are confronting terrorism and insurgency that seeks to undermine the security of the nation.”
“We will remain unyielding and will continue to reinforce our defences so as to rid the country of terrorism and the forces of evil that threatens our peace and development.” He added
Stressing that Nigerian economy is growing stronger, he said that Nigeria is determined to become one of the world’s 20 most industrialized nation.
He said: “This administration has significantly improved our investment climate and I will continue to take all necessary steps to enhance the competitiveness of Nigeria’s enterprises. We have always believed and are indeed very encouraged that these measures are steadily contributing to the attainment of the broad objective of our administration’s transformation agenda.”
“But the challenges remain. We must not relent in our efforts to sustain a predictable and stable policy environment. We would continue to eliminate as much as possible, distortions and privileges to create a sustainable level playing ground for all investors.”
“Let me reaffirm that our efforts under the transformation agenda are yielding impressive results. Today, Nigeria is one of the strongest economic performer in Africa. For the second year, the United Nation’s Conference on Trade and Development, has declared Nigeria as the number one recipient of foreign direct investment, FDI in Africa.”
“In May this year, Nigeria hosted global leaders at the World Economic Forum on Africa. Besides the record attendance, prospective and size able additional investment into Nigerian economy were pledged.” He said
According to him, the recently launched Nigerian industrial revolution plan is expected to increase the size of Nigeria manufacturing sector from 4% of the GDP to 10% of the GDP by the year, 2017.
The industrial plan, he said, focuses on four main areas including light manufacturing, agro businesses, petro- chemicals and solid minerals and metals, which he said will help to develop the non oil sector, fast track our industrial development and create millions of jobs for Nigerians.
On agriculture, he said: “In the agricultural sector, our reform efforts are producing substantial outcomes in the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA). Through the growth enhancement scheme, we have provided subsidized farming inputs to over 4 million farmers. Last year alone, over 250,000 farmers were engaged in producing 1.1 million metric tones of rice, during the dry season.”
“Many young women across our country were also trained and provided with farming starter kits for fishery, snail keeping livestock etc. The recent GDP rebasing results revealed that the services industry constitute about 51 % of our GDP and employs many more Nigerians than we previously thought. We are therefore investing in the sector such as ICT and the creative industry to generate more of such jobs which will be key to making our recent economic record more inclusive.”
Despite the challenges in the Education sector, he said Nigeria is improving the standard at both the states and federal levels and carrying out teaching and infrastructure upgrade in educational institutions.
To address housing deficit in the country, he said that mortgage refinancing Programme has been launched to provide secondary market for mortgages.
“We hope that the initiative will help to address housing deficit and create jobs for scores of Nigerians. Besides current security challenges, Nigeria’s position as the preferred destination for foreign direct investment in Africa has been maintained.”
“Within the last two months, we have played hosts to several business delegations from all over the world including a Chinese delegation of 100 businessmen, 75 Kenyan businessmen, 18 Swiss investors and second largest business enterprise in China, a Fortune 500 company, which pledged to invest in our transmission and Power generating sector.”
“The visit by the U S Commerce Secretary, accompanied by a powerful delegation, the delegation from Pakistan and the team from Netherlands are also worthy of note.”
Speaking at the occasion, the Coordinator of HIIC, Baroness Lynda Chalker noted that drop out of students in primary schools show the magnitude of educational problem in the country.
She said: “Children who go to primary schools do not complete their education, that tells us a lot about the problems of the country. That is why we want to focus on education.”
“We do not have a separate session on Power supply but we do know that Nigeria’s progress again depend on the gas reforms, the management of the transmission company of Nigeria, fuel supply to power plants, speedy implementation of renewable energy and progress plan for developing domestic gas utilization. Power and education are at the heart of what must be achieved.” She stated