The Economic Advisory Council, EAC, set up by President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday in closed doors with the President told him that the nation’s economic growth was slow.
This is as the President has advised the EAC to be briefing him on economic issues in every six weeks instead of the quarterly arrangements.
Briefing President Buhari on their assignment, the Professor Doyin Salami-led eight-member council said that the issue of synergy amongst ministries, departments and agencies, MDA’s was necessary.
He said, “In addition to the issue of synergy which the President addressed at the meeting, the Council raised concerns that the rate of the growth of the economy is slower than the rate the country’s population is growing; the need to strengthen national statistical agencies; reform procurement processes; improve education; and the need for job planning in training offered by academic institutions.
“The Council also brought to the government their views on borrowing, macroeconomic stability and the need to provide a friendly climate for foreign investment.
“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,” said Prof. Salami.”
The council resolved to focus on legacy projects by the administration before 2023.
While receiving the EAC which replaced the Economic Management Team, EMT, led by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, President Buhari at the Presidential Villa Abuja, President Buhari gave firm commitment that his administration will be bound by their advice on economy related matters.
President Buhari gave the first directive from their recommendations that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, address immediately the observed lapses in coordination between ministries and all agencies of government.
In a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the President in his remarks after listening to the report of macroeconomic importance and their views and recommendations, said on the issue of coordination, that “the lack of synergy between ministries, departments and agencies would no longer be accepted.
According to him, “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.
“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.”
Speaking about the challenges facing the economy and the tasks that rest on the shoulders of the members, the President noted that “the economy is the most delicate and sensitive of all aspects of national life.
“A little change in the matrix can lead to major disruptions in the national 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.”
President Buhari, who accepted that the EAC should now brief him more frequently, at least once every six weeks, instead of once every quarter, thanked the members for their patriotism and commitment in accepting the challenging responsibilities conferred on them.
“I cannot” he concluded, “thank you enough for your patriotism.”
In addition to Prof. Salami, the Chairman, the Council is made up of Dr Mohammed Sagagi, Vice-Chairman and Prof. Ode Ojowu as members.
Other members are Dr Shehu Yahaya, Dr Iyabo Masha, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, Dr Bismack Rewane and Dr Mohammed Adaya Salisu.
The two ministers in the Ministry of Finance also serve as co-opted members.