Empowerment of Nigerians is at the heart of the Social Investment Programmes of the Buhari administration, even though it also has a social welfare component to help the people survive as they are being empowered, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Osinbajo spoke yesterday in Davos where he is leading the Nigerian delegation to the yearly World Economic Forum.
The Vice President participated and spoke in several events including a packed international Business Interaction Group of investors focused exclusively on Nigeria. He also spoke at a panel of Building Africa, joined by Rwandan President Paul Kagame, and televised live by the CNBC Africa.
At the panel, asked to mention what kind of radical ideas can advance the African continent, Osinbajo gave the example of the Federal Government's Social Investment Programme where for the first time half a Trillion Naira is being budgeted by the Federal Government for Social Investment Programmes.
"It is about investment in people, in their skills, in youths, that we have a N500B allocation in our budget last year and proposed for this year also," the VP explained.
He continued: "It is an investment in education and educating large numbers of people in a short time, it's a radical thing to make that kind of serious investment in education, " referring to the N-Power scheme's training component for young graduates, and non graduates in artisanal and industrial middle-level skills. He also referred to the planned N100,000 supporting grants to students of higher institutions in Science, Technology, Enginerring & Maths, STEM.
In addition, the Vice President noted that the Buhari administration is "committed to investing more in infrastructure," than in previous times by ensuring that 30% of the budget goes into capital expenditure.
Besides, he disclosed that the government is working on how to tap into Nigeria's huge Pension Fund to finance infrastructure in the country. To do this he stated that "we have to first derisk" such financing models for infrastructure.
An active engagement with, and encouraging the private sector, he said, is also of a great deal, referring to the example of the 650,000bpd refinery project of the Dangote Group, which is going to be the largest single-line refinery in the world.
Assuring that the Buhari administration is very confident about the recovery of the Nigerian economy, Prof. Osinbajo said "it is not difficult to get out of where we are if we understand why we are where we are." He reminded his audience that the Nigerian economy remains indisputably the biggest in terms of size of the economy.
Speaking at the Buisness Interaction Group attended by several international and local investors and business interests, and hosted by the Nigerian delegation, the Vice President assured that the newly developed Economic Recovery Growth Plan of the Buhari administration has been specifically designed to take the country out of recession and in the long term continue to grow the economy. He said the planning of the 2017 was based on the ERGP, which he said would be formally launched next month.