…Explains private sector exclusion in Economic Management Team
From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Presidency yesterday denied alleged secret recruitment of children and cronies of government functionaries at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and other agencies and parastatals of government, describing such reports as “inaccurate”.
This is even as it gave reasons behind the exclusion of the private sector in the current Economic Management Team (EMT) headed by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, saying the President Muhammadu Buhari administration considers managing the economy its responsibility.
Recent media reports had alleged that cronies of officials of the present government including President Muhammadu Buhari and his vice, are being secretly employed in government agencies described as lucrative.
But the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President, Mr. Laolu Akande, told State House correspondents that there was no iota of truth in the reports. According to him, the government was rather sanitising the recruitment process and the public service systems to make them more transparent. “These reports are inaccurate. What we heard is that government is working to ensure that we develop, going forward, a more transparent process. We are committed in going forward to ensure that some of these procedures are refined, fine-tuned and made to become more transparent,” he said.
On the national economic management team, Akande said that it was government’s responsibility to take on the economy.
He said, ”we have to understand that the attitude of this Presidency is to consider the management of the economy as a government responsibility. It is not something that this government believes should be done by bringing in some of the private interests into the economic team to take a decision that they will be directly involved with. So our stand is that the management of the economy is a government responsibility,” he said.
Akande, however, added that the private sector was not totally excluded as other stakeholders such as the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), have also been engaged by the government.
“For instance, we have started meeting on constant basis with MAN and there have been meetings with arms of the economic sector of the country. There have been meetings with the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) and some other economic interests with companies making presentations.
“But generally, this thing is a government team and the team has been able to set out before the budget trying to figure out what the budget ought to focus on. After the budget was presented and eventually signed, there was also the publication of the strategic implementation plan, which was produced in a reader friendly format.
“All of these are the outcomes of what EMT does and it is also in the team that you have the heap of the whole physical and monetary policy and don’t forget that the monetary policy is always the duty and responsibility of the central bank, which is an economic arm of government,” he said.
When asked to put a timeline when Nigerians will begin to feel the impact of the economic team, the Vice President’s media aide said the present administration was committed to charting a new course for the country.
According to him, the corruption fight is a laudable feat of the administration. “As much as we try not to say this, we know as a matter of fact that members of the past administration, most of them have come out to say they did not save for the rainy day. So we are dealing mostly with situations that have been caused even before this administration took over power. The President and his team have worked hard and planned not only to save cost, not only to tighten public expenditure but to also diversify the economy like never before.” The Sun