President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said that the country is in a terrible state of underdevelopment and more is needed to steer the economy from this path.
Buhari said this when he held a virtual meeting with members of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC).
The President described the guidance provided by the council as a tutorial.
He said, “We are a country characterised by a large population of poor people, serious infrastructure deficit, lack of housing and a vulnerable economy now haunted by the COVID-19 pandemic and collapse of the oil sector and its effect on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).”
During their presentation, the council led by Dr. Doyin Salami, commended the administration for implementing several of its recommendations.
According to a statement signed by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the council presented the government with a number of “tough choices to make in order to put the country’s economy on a higher growth path”.
Salami was quoted as telling the President that more needed to be done to increase efficiency, coordination and accountability among Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
The council advised that existing institutional and administrative structures should be used while implementing the N2.3 trillion stimulus plan and that attention should be paid to sources of funding to avoid inflation.
It also advised that priorities, targets and time limits be set for all projects to make for their completion within the 12-month life-span of the stimulus plan, and where this is not achieved, such projects should be rolled into the new Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP II).
Other recommendations included the promotion of export-oriented production strategies, ensuring the use of local resources; curtailing post-harvest losses in agriculture now put at between 40-60 per cent and above all, the need to make the economy attractive to non-debt private sector-funded investment in order to cut the rising cost of debt services.
The council also said there is a need to embark on mass housing schemes to create jobs financed through a public-private partnership arrangement and an urgent need to move away from multiple exchange rates to a unified currency exchange rate.
According to the statement, the President accepted the immediate need to activate the proposal by the council on the public policy coordinating office under the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
Other members of the council are Mohammed Sagagi, Chukwuma Soludo, Ode Ojowu, Shehu Yahaya, Iyabo Masha, Bismarck Rewane and Mohammed Salisu.