ENGAGING WITH THE PEOPLE & THEIR NEEDS REMAIN OUR MAJOR CONCERN, SAYS OSINBAJO …..UN Commends Nigeria & VP salutes Segun Awolowo on Zero-Oil Plan foresight


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* Nigeria’s COVID-19 response was a miracle. “I am really impressed with your leadership in addressing the impact of COVID-19 in Nigeria.” —- Outgoing UN Resident Coordinator says to Mr. President, VP: ‘’I am impressed with your leadership’’
*Retired Generals tasked with defence & armed forces reform visit VP for counsel
*VP commends outgoing NEPC CEO, Segun Awolowo on Zero-Oil Plan foresight
*Export Development Fund activated for the first time through Buhari’s ESP – Awolowo

For those fortunate enough to be elected to lead the people, engaging with them is not only an important concern but an aspiration. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN said this yesterday during a farewell courtesy call at the Presidential Villa by the outgoing United Nations Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon.

Before that, members of a Presidential Defence Reform Committee had interacted on Wednesday with the Vice President, briefing him on the progress so far made by the Committee which has now reached the implementation stage in the reform process.

The Committee including its Chairman, retired Major-General A.J Kazir who led the delegation is composed of several former military chiefs including retired Lt. Generals C.I Obiakor, L.O Adeosun, A.F.K Akale, retired Major-Generals L.P Ngubane, A.T Jibrin, S. Wali, retired Brigadier-Generals J.N Temlong, retired Rear Admiral J.A Ajani, and Group Captain S.G Shehu, among others.

In his meeting with the outgoing UN top official in Nigeria, Prof. Osinbajo stated that “constant engagement on issues of justice, peace, security, and social contract cannot be let to fall through the cracks, these are critical issues. “You cannot avoid engaging with the people (there is need to engage) in such a way that you are trusted, and on an ongoing basis, people (should) see that you are committed enough to their concerns.

“People must feel that government is committed to their welfare, security and especially on issues of healthcare and education of their children. So, a social compact is crucial. As a matter of fact, it is both a current concern and aspiration for those of us who have been fortunate to be elected into positions in government and in the politics of our country.”

The UN Resident Coordinator had raised with the VP the issue of the importance of a social contract between the people and their government while recounting his experience during his more than five years stay in Nigeria, adding that maintaining peace and security is crucial. Prof. Osinbajo also commended the support and partnership of development partners particularly under the auspices of the United Nations system, coordinated by Mr Kallon over the years, noting that “we certainly enjoyed the work that you did as UN Resident Coordinator for Nigeria for the past few years”.

Recalling some of the efforts of Mr Kallon, Prof. Osinbajo said “practically, on every occasion where we have had to look at serious issues, you have been available which I think is very important. “We found that you were very hands-on, you were everywhere, you attended major meetings that we have had and you were all over the country.

“Your being available and ready to engage is really commendable and very helpful for us as a government. It also gave you a clear insight to what the issues are and it made your presentations to the UN system clearer and more nuanced.” On his part, Mr Kallon thanked the President and the Vice President for the support he enjoyed during his tenure as Coordinator of the UN in Nigeria, especially in addressing some of the concerns around humanitarian assistance.

He praised Nigeria’s COVID-19 response dubbing it a miracle, and commended the Vice President’s personal commitment and leadership of the economic recovery initiative, noting that “I am really impressed with your leadership in addressing the impact of COVID-19 in Nigeria.”

Mr Kallon said Nigeria’s efforts remain a model as to how a well-coordinated national response can deliver positive results and urged the government to explore opportunities in the country as well as creatively manage the risks therein.

“While the government continues exploring the vast opportunities in this country, it is also critical that this great nation manages its risks in a sustainable way to ensure peace security, and stability,” the UN Resident Coordinator added.

At the previous interaction with the Defence Reform Committee, the Vice President observed that “the choice of Committee members is wise and informed, because your experience is what is required. You are clearly the ones who can tell us this is what to do.”

According to the Committee Chairman, rtd. General Kazir, ” the purpose of our visit is to appraise you of the work we have done so far and seek your counsel for a seamless implementation.”
Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity
Office of the Vice President
November 25, 2021

*VP commends outgoing NEPC CEO, Segun Awolowo on Zero-Oil Plan foresight
*Export Development Fund activated for the first time through Buhari’s ESP – Awolowo

Focusing on non-oil exports, with the Zero-Oil Plan actively promoted by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Nigeria is on the right path to economic diversification, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Prof. Osinbajo, stated this today during a courtesy visit to the Presidential Villa by a delegation from the NEPC led by its outgoing Executive Director/CEO, Mr Segun Awolowo.

According to the Vice President, “we are set on the right path and I like the fact that we are focused on non-oil exports, and we are facing the challenges and we are facing them head-on.

“In the next few years, those of us who are policymakers and looking at the future, must, today, have a plan. In fact, we have set ourselves on an inevitable course of a zero-oil plan.”

The VP then commended the outgoing NEPC CEO for his foresight, stating that “I really want to commend you for your foresight for putting in place a plan that is very well-structured and detailed.”

Said the VP, “it is very important to note that we are certainly getting away from the oil and gas era. In the past, we used to think that it will still take a while but today, with the circumstances and all of the various factors around the world (less dependence on oil, Climate Change, and COP), it is inevitable.”

He added that “public investments from the EU, from the multilateral organizations for oil and gas, are fizzling out.”

Speaking on the efforts put in place by the NEPC to ensure that the objectives of government were realized, the VP noted that “the Export Expansion Facility Programme (EEFP) is a natural progression for the Zero-Oil Plan.”

“If you say you have a zero-oil plan, then you must have a way of improving exports in particular because oil is our major foreign exchange earnings. So, if you are going to replace it, then you must have a robust plan, and I think that the EEFP is an incredibly wide door for exports in our country,” the VP added.

Prof. Osinbajo however tasked stakeholders in the sector to brace up for the challenges ahead, stating that “the years to come will test our resolve even more because we are going to be challenging ourselves the more.”

Earlier in his remarks, Mr Awolowo gave an overview of the EEFP which he said has been crucial to the economic diversification agenda of government, disclosing significant increase in non-oil revenues at over one trillion naira which is now 15% above target.

Mr Awolowo praised the support the Council enjoyed from the President and the Vice President in the discharge of its mandates and noted that it enabled the “NEPC to significantly re-energize the country’s non-oil exports.”

According to him, “for instance, the Export Development Fund of the NEPC has been activated for the first time under the Buhari administration through the Economic Sustainability Plan.”

He said that through the activities promoted by the Council, Nigeria is on track in growing its non-oil sector, and urged all stakeholders not to relent in their efforts.

Mr Awolowo who is completing his tenure as NEPC’s ED/CEO was accompanied on the visit by the management and some staff of the Council.
Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity
Office of the Vice President
25th November 2021


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