Summit: Councillors to head economic growth at ward levels – Minister

The Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Senator George Akume, at the second session of inaugural partnership economy summit in Abuja, Wednesday said council wards will be designated as economic development districts.

To be headed by elected or appointed councilors, “These districts shall be engineered to become the catalysts for community socio-economic growth, development and diversification of economy,” he said.

The paper titled: “Unveiling the Framework of Multi-Stakeholders’ Partnership for Building an Inclusive Economy for Shared Prosperity in Nigeria,” Akume said the government citizens partnership, derived from the national framework of public private partnership (PPP), is a multilayered collaborative virtual structure based on the principles and guidelines of Public Social Private Partnership.

He said Nigeria is ranked 27th largest in the world in terms of nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 24th largest in the world in terms of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP). He observed that as at December 2020, the aggregate statistics show that poverty rate was 40.1%, unemployment rate 32.1%, GDP per capital $2.442 and Gini coefficient (the measure of disparity between the poor and the rich) stood at 35.1%.

“Ours is a mixed economy, belonging to middle-income and emerging market bracket with ample opportunity for expansion in manufacturing, value addition in agriculture, solid minerals, oil and gas, financial, services, communication, technology, entertainment sectors etc.”

He stated that the Nigerian economy grew by 2.2% in 2019 but the onslaught of COVID-19 pandemic pushed the economy into recession with resultant -3.0% growth. However, President Muhammadu Buhari rallied the indefatigable can do spirit of Nigerians with the right policy measures that have seen the economy bounce back with 0.11% growth in Q4, 2020 thus successfully exiting the recession, supported primarily by growth in agriculture and telecommunication.

He said President Buhari reiterated his commitment to addressing the twin underlying drivers of insecurity in the country, namely poverty and youth unemployment.

He added that government revenue stood at 8% of GDP in 2019 but declined to 5% in 2020, no thanks to global lock down occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic.

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