Chris Steven, Abuja
As Nigerians wait for President Muhammadu Buhari to assign portfolios to all the recently confirmed Ministerial designates, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has clarified that the Presidency will not be naming a Coordinating Minister of the economy; a practice introduced in the last administration.
ProfessornOsinbajo made the explanation while receiving the Australian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Jonathan Richardson, in his office.
It would be recalled that during the National Economic Summit in Abuja four weeks ago, the Vice President was asked during a Presidential Dialogue why the President was absent at the Summit.
In his response, the Vice President explained that the President wished to be present, but due to pressing national engagements he couldn’t attend. He apologised and then noted that as Vice President his role is to supervise the economy.
‘’ we are not going to have a system like where there was a coordinating minister. No, there would not be anything like that.’’ he said
He said as Vice President his role is ‘’ to ensure that everyone that is involved in economic activities, that there is a way by which the President is fully apprised of what everyone is doing such that we are all on same page and to make it easier for the President to make decisions.’’
ProfessornOsinbajo also expressed the willingness of the Federal Government to deepen the existing bilateral relations especially in the area of economic cooperation with the Government of Australia, in mining, agriculture, shipping and transport sectors as well as in the area of infrastructure development.
Explaining the reason for Nigeria’s interest in the deepening of economic cooperation between the two countries, Prof. Osinbajo said ‘’the Federal Government would be interested in exploring deeper relationship on economic cooperation as it is a major area in diversifying our economy’’.
He lauded Nigeria’s excellent bilateral relations with Australia and commended the Australian government for the various capacity building initiatives in Nigeria and its investments in some key sectors of the economy.
The High Commissioner of Australia to Nigeria, Mr. Jonathan Richardson noted that his country’s bilateral relations with Nigeria had grown over the years. He disclosed that his country is seeking to enhance relations with Nigeria in areas of commercial development and is ready to offer technical assistance in some sectors which the country has given priority to.