No doubt, the pivotal role of the private sector in the development, growth and stability of the economies of the world, especially the developing economies such as Nigeria, is very well acknowledged. Verifiable statistics have continued to indicate that successful private sector efforts drive growth, create jobs and pay taxes that finance services and investment. In developing countries like Nigeria, the private sector generates about 70% of jobs, funds more than 60% of all investments and also provides a huge percentage of government revenues. In these countries, private companies provide an ever-increasing share of essential services, such as banking, telecommunications, health, education and so forth. All these accelerate domestic development.
However, while it is agreed that sustainable and private sector-led growth contributes to general economic development and poverty reduction, the fact remains that the private sector alone cannot make all these happen, especially in Nigeria. The sector needs to be encouraged and supported so it can produce high and inclusive growth, while still generating the profits needed to succeed and, even, grow more. In this regard, therefore, it becomes pertinent that the Nigerian government, through its relevant agencies, must engage the Organized Private Sector (OPS) for the purposes of creating awareness that the private sector is a great catalyst in the socio-economic development of the country, while exploring existing opportunities of partnerships that will expand the benefits accruing to the OPS and also reduce the seeming negative attitude of government towards the private sector. This is the primary objective of the National Orientation Agency in this dialogue.
NEED FOR ROBUST NOA/OPS COLLABORATION FOR RE-INVIGORATION OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA
Presently, the perceived feeling of insecurity arising from pockets of communal disturbances in some locations in the country has, somewhat, affected economic activities. Business and other social activities have experienced a lull, while mutual confidence and trust seem to be eroding. All these do not promote economic development. However, the government has continued to deploy various effective strategic communication channels, in addition to strategic deployment of troops and other security personnel to the affected locations, with a view to achieving a return to normalcy and peace which are necessary for all businesses to thrive and operate efficiently. Equally, all sectors of the economy including the private sector are enjoined to support every effort for the enthronement of peace in Nigeria.
The achievement of this goal, therefore, calls for an effective and beneficial partnership between NOA and the OPS through the following programmes which will, ultimately, support a stable and better business environment.
1. Buy Made- In-Nigeria Campaign
In line with one of its functions of propagating and promoting the dignity of labour, honesty and commitment to qualitative production, including the promotion and consumption of locally-produced commodities and services, the NOA proposes this programme which will mobilize Nigerians towards development of a vibrant economy.
a. Economic boom for investors in the private sector and prosperity for the nation, at large
b. Conservation of scare foreign exchange
c. Expansion of business options in the private sector and commitment to qualitative production
d. Increase consumption of locally-produced goods and service
e. Promotion of the core value of dignity of labour
2. Waste-to-Wealth Programme
To increase the waste management potential of the country and also harness/expand the economic benefits accruing from recycling of waste, which is the main thrust of the programme, this scheme is being proposed with the following advantages in mind.
a. Attraction of a huge number of investors in waste recycling business
b. Expansion in the foundries and fabrication sub-sector arising from increased demand for recycling equipment which are manufactured locally.
c. Increased employment opportunities, especially for the youth who will be gainful engaged at different levels of the recycling process (e.g. picking, sorting and cleaning of waste items before recycling proper) resulting in a reduction in crime.
d Increased revenue for investors
e. Enhancement of the environment.
3. Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme
Agreed that a number of government agencies are already engaged in youth entrepreneurship programmes, NOA is putting forward this proposal to ensure wider engagement of the youth (especially those out of school) with a view to ensuring the maximization of their potentials in a more beneficial and productive manner. This will entail closer monitoring and tracking of the programme at the apprenticeship and mentorship stages to ensure diligence and avoidance of truancy and abscondment which are rife in the existing entrepreneurship schemes.
a. Expansion of the private sector, especially at the entrepreneurial level
b. Employment generation
c. Reduction in crime
d. Competitive, but stable economic environment.
CALL FOR STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS
Having enumerated some of NOA programmes, as well as areas of possible benefits, we, therefore strongly solicit strategic partnerships with members of the OPS, including the banking, manufacturing telecommunications, transportation and other sectors, in the execution of these programmes which details will be made available for examination. The partnership solicited will include adoption of selected programmes by members of the OPS or joint execution of same, all of which will take advantage of the strategic structure of NOA in all the Wards, Local Governments and States of the federation where the Agency’s field officers operate. The partnership being solicited here are lasting partnerships which will seal and solidify existing cleavages between the private and public sectors of the economy. Partnership that will ultimately seek to provide lasting solutions to Nigeria’s socio-economic problems such as unemployment and youth restiveness. Partnerships whose results will usher in peace and catalyze the required conducive atmosphere for economic development, while benefitting all sectors of the economy.
In the same vein, we urge members of the OPS to always consider the patriotic NIGERIA DREAM programme of the NOA in the planning and execution of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) packages. This will go a long way in aggregating our national values and bringing to fruition a national sense of pride, commitment and love for fatherland, while entrenching laudable ethics and standards which will enhance Nigeria’s international image.
Finally, as we make the call for these strategic partnerships, the NOA is not unmindful of the expectations of the OPS to have the government put in place policies, standards and other improvements which will ease business transactions in the country. The NOA, therefore, in furtherance of its feedback mandate of apprising government of citizens’ reactions to its policies, programmes and activities, is assuring the OPS of its readiness to bring to the attention of the government all suggestions, opinions and advice which will revolutionize Nigeria’s business climate and confirm her position as one of the most attractive investment destinations, among the developing economies.