Buhari at Dangote Refinery inauguration: I’m leaving the economy in very competent hands

Tinubu and Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has assured Nigerians that he is leaving the economy in competent hands.

He said he believed in the ability of the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to advance the economy.

Buhari said this in Lagos on Monday as part of his message while inaugurating Dangote Petroleum  Refinery in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos, the largest petrochemical company in the world.

The company is expected to make Nigeria self-sufficient in refined petroleum products and have surplus for export.

The president described the feat as a significant milestone for Nigeria’s economy and a game changer for the downstream petroleum products market in Africa.

The event was attended by Heads of State of Ghana, Togo, Niger and Senegal and a representative of the President of Chad.

Buhari  said: ‘‘This mega industry we are commissioning today is a clear example of what can be achieved when entrepreneurs are encouraged and supported and when an enabling environment is created for investments and for businesses to thrive.

‘‘I am confident that my successor, His Excellency Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, will sustain the improvement in our economic and business environment and strengthen the framework of our public private partnership policies to accelerate the pace of our economic growth and development.

‘‘I am happy to leave our economy in very competent hands.’’

The president who commended Alhaji Aliko Dangote’s leadership in executing the 650,000 barrels per day refinery, urged other entrepreneurs to emulate his example in driving  economic growth and realizing Nigeria’s economic potential.

He stressed the need for African countries to come together, integrate their economies, eliminate trade barriers, and rally their populations to achieve Agenda 2063, for the continent’s prosperity.

‘‘I urge and encourage our other great entrepreneurs to emulate this iconic Nigerian industrialist and join the Government in accelerating our growth in order to realize our country’s globally recognized economic potential.

‘‘When I travel around Africa and meet and engage my brother Heads of State (and I am delighted some of their Excellences are here) I often sense a quiet expectation that our country is blessed with resources and human capacity to lead Africa’s rise to economic prosperity and the attainment of Agenda 2063 – ‘The Africa we all want.’

‘‘But to achieve the goals of Agenda 2063, Africa must come together – we must integrate our economies, eliminate barriers to trade and energize our youthful population to scale up our productive capacity.

‘‘We must create necessary conditions for our private sector to grow and partner with the public sector to accelerate economic growth across the continent.

‘‘We must not allow outside powers to use some of our leaders to destabilize our economic and political trajectory,’’ he said.

Buhari acknowledged the visionary investments made by the Dangote Group in transforming Nigeria’s economy through involvement in critical industries such as cement and fertilizer.

He noted that investment in these sectors had  played a crucial role in shifting Nigeria from heavy import dependence to becoming a net exporter.

The president acknowledged that Nigeria’s economy has faced significant challenges over the years, including deficits in economic infrastructure and insurgency.

He added that the country also faced external crises such as the global financial crisis, collapse of oil prices, massive disruptions caused by COVID-19 pandemic, and the Russia-Ukraine war.

‘‘The consequence of these challenges constitute a severe strain on our economy, limiting Government’s ability to provide basic infrastructure without resorting to huge borrowings.

‘‘Our Government, therefore, took the decision to focus attention on creating an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive and fill the enormous gap in investments not only in infrastructure but also in all critical sectors.

‘‘We recognize that without the active participation of the private sector and a strong commitment to public private partnership, our economy would continue to remain severely challenged and our economic growth impeded.

‘‘Government therefore, will and should continue to provide an enabling environment and encourage innovative public private partnerships in all sectors of our economy,’’ he said.

Buhari emphasized the administration’s commitment to this approach, citing Executive Order 007 of 2019 which facilitated the rehabilitation and construction of many roads by private sector investors using a Tax-credit scheme.

‘‘It is my hope that the succeeding Administration will continue to apply such innovative schemes in partnership with the private sector to accelerate the provision of critical infrastructure, in particular roads, power and gas pipelines,’’ he said.


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