What made this year’s NESG Summit different, and what to expect from all stakeholders

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Talk they say is cheap. Nigeria has been talking all these while, and we’ve only landed where we are. All talks and no action does no nation any good.

The introduction above probably sums up your perception of summits and conferences in Nigeria. People come to sit and talk, enjoy some delicacies, network and then after, forget they ever mentioned anything noteworthy. It is not that the ‘talks’ aren’t valid, insightful and loaded with potential solutions; it is rather the will to act that remains our Achilles’ heel.

This was my thought as I travelled for the 22nd NESG summit aptly tagged ‘Made in Nigeria’. It ties into what everyone had been preaching right from the previous administration. Campaigns like the Dora Akunyili led ‘Great Nation’ to the most recent ‘Buy Naija to Grow Naija’ championed by Senator Ben Bruce have dotted our media space – all without a trail to real success. Another #MadeinNigeria drive didn’t look to be of meaningful impact except that this time, The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) was the one calling the shots. The NESG is Nigeria’s most authoritative economic policy research think tank, so they deserved full attention.

As I attended the discussions and moved through interesting break away sessions where more detailed conversations happened, I started getting a sense of hope. Our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, his vice Prof Yemi Osinbajo and other Ministers of the Federal republic not only showed how important the summit and theme was, but also set the pace in driving the #madeinNigeria agenda.

I think we should all understand that the current policies, set by the government are all gradually stirring us toward sustainable local consumption. I do not doubt the hardship that this will come with, and the sacrifice it requires by all for us to record an attainable level success. There is a saying that ‘far-reaching and worthwhile change is difficult in the beginning, terrible in the middle and a sight to behold at the end’ . The Journey to attain the circumstance we so desire will not be too different and we have to come to terms with it. that said, I strongly believe that Nigeria is on the brink of a recovery, we only need to believe and work towards it.

At the end of it all came the summary of the summit. It captured everything from the various sessions and discussions. Five key sub-themes were highlighted and put forward by the panelist, industrialist and government officials as key areas that need attention. NESG summed these themes into a ‘Will of progress’. I prefer ‘wheels of progress’ because when each wheel moves, it, in turn drive the other. The wheels are set as motor gears, each independent but interdependent.

The NES22 ‘Wills of Progress’ mentions the following.

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  • The need to change our our attitude and behavior to already existing made in Nigeria attempts (products, services, technology and mentality).
  • The next gear on the will was on the need to establish a surefooted and clear communication of policies to engender investor and citizen confidence which should be driven by a well articulated National Development Plan which sets our developmental priorities, choices and paths straight and is accessible locally and internationally for anyone willing to invest. A clear example is taken from the Rwanda success story.
  • The need to improve the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ in Nigeria was charged to the presidency as a front burner.
  • On finance, the summit suggests the development which allows banks provide long-term capital for on-lending as well as a review of things excluded on the FOREX Market.
  • On technology, the summit is of the opinion that having tech hubs and corridors laden with tech infrastructures in key cities alongside creative industrial parks and alternative sources and renewable energy should be the next priority.

The full breakdown is available on the NESG App when you download it (app download link –http://ow.ly/FTc4305NZph).

Talk is cheap, the ‘wills of progress’ should really be what they are – A WILL! Not just from the government or the NESG but from all of us. In the meantime NESG maintains it will continue to meet and discuss and call relevant stakeholders.

ON our part as an individual, we owe it a duty to reach out and challenge the government, NESG and most importantly, the media, so everyone is kept on their toes to deliver on what #MadeinNigeria truly entails i.e. economic growth and self sustainability.