Nigeria’s private sector coalition has put together N100 billion to help the government fight widespread insecurity in the country.
Chairman, UBA Group, Tony Elumelu, who made this known at the UBA Group Chairman’s Forum, at the weekend, said the private sector, more than ever, was committed to helping the government find solutions to the country’s myriad problems.
“We have just put N100 billion together, under the private-sector coalition to help fight insecurity or to support our security agencies’ capacities to be able to deal with the issues we are having in the country on security.
“We believe that if they are well-armed and protected, it will go a long way in helping to assure security in Nigeria,” Elumelu stated at the event.
At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the private sector, under the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID), rallied around the government to find solutions to the devastating pandemic.
Elumelu said the private sector spent some N60 billion for this course and was ready to do more, saying the support provided covid tests kits, isolation centres across the states, vaccines, as well as palliatives for the less-privileged.
He told the gathering that the private sector coalition was engineered by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, whose vision, since assumption of office, had been to drive a people-focused central bank where decisions and policies would impact directly on the lives of the citizens.
His words: “It was during COVID that some Nigerians were able to know what the private sector could do under Governor Emefiele.
“We spent nothing less than N60 billion so far. And I think the most important thing was the strong move we made to open up the Nigerian economy. Then, post covid – not that COVID is completely over- we spent so much money for people to vaccinate; even supporting government agencies with money to enable them do so many things to keep Nigeria healthy and safe.”
The UBA Group Chairman’s Forum is a bi-annual interactive and knowledge-sharing event where all the board members, and Subsidiaries from the 20 African countries including, the United Kingdom and the US, gather to interact, learn, integrate and generate ideas to advance the African economy.
In his speech, Emefiele who was the special guest at the forum said his vision of a people-centred central bank was driven by some of the key challenges facing the Nigerian economy, particularly the heavy reliance on oil for revenues and foreign exchange earnings.
“The over-dependence on crude oil earnings fueled an excessive dependence on imports, which came at the expense of constraining growth in critical sectors of our economy such as agriculture and manufacturing. It also exposed our economy to volatilities associated with changes in the price of crude oil in global markets,” Emefiele stressed.
According to him, notwithstanding the relevance of the agriculture and manufacturing sectors, output has been constrained due to poor credit, relative to the oil and gas sector.
In a further effort to justify the CBN’s interventions in the real sector, Emefiele stressed that given a population size of over 200 million people, with favourable youth demographics, the apex bank was well convinced that providing the necessary support, including improved access to finance to households and businesses, coupled with better infrastructure would boost productivity, and help in enabling greater direct investment flows into the economy.