BY EDMOND ODOK, ABUJA – President Muhammadu Buhari has described as unacceptable and disturbing a situation where significant proportion of Nigeria’s wealth is only concentrated in the hands of few individuals.
He however assured of Federal Government’s resolve to institutionalise policies and measures that will not only promote inclusiveness but also tackle widespread inequality in the country.
Addressing the opening session of the 25th Nigerian Economic Summit (NES), President Buhari said the negligible number of wealthy Nigerians are sadly based in only five states of the federation and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
According to him, the Federal Government has, in the last four years, focused on lifting a large percentage of Nigerians out of poverty by uplifting the disadvantaged and encouraging inclusivity at all levels.
The President, who insisted that wealth and prosperity are not the same, said; “Today, many mistake prosperity with wealth. They are not necessarily the same. Experts and analysts explain economic trends by making references to indicators of wealth. Wealth, however, in its simplistic form, is money or other assets. In recent years, global events have shown that when a society and its leaders are driven and motivated by these alone, the ultimate outcome is a divided state of severe inequalities.
“But a prosperous society is one where majority of its citizens have an acceptable standard of living and a decent quality of life.”
He said it is a sad commentary that in a country of about 200 million people living in 36 states and the FCT, “a significant proportion of Nigeria’s prosperity today is concentrated in the hands of a few people living primarily in four or five states and the FCT. Some of the most prosperous Nigerians are here in this room.”
President Buhari said his recent visits to the United Nations, Niger Republic, Japan and South Africa, have confirmed increased consensus among leaders, in government, the public and private sectors, that to address population growth, security and corruption matters in developing economies, policies and programs must focus on promoting inclusivity and collective prosperity.
He said this shift implies that the concept of having competitive free markets that focus on wealth creation alone would be replaced by those that propagate the creation of inclusive markets which provide citizens with opportunities that will lead to peaceful and prosperous lives.
“As a government, we very much look forward to our continued collaborating with the private sector in designing and implementing developmental projects that will keep Nigeria on track for sustained, inclusive and prosperity driven growth”, the President said
President Buhari therefore urged participants at the Summit to adopt proposals that are productive, inventive and innovative, stressing the need for them to also be conscious that Nigeria’s unique challenges can only be solved by made in Nigeria solutions.
For the President, all hands must be on deck to ensure that current efforts at taking Nigeria out of its economic woes into an eldorado of sustainable development and improved welfare for Nigerians are hugely successful.