January 26, 2022

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Nigeria’s destiny as Africa’s economic powerhouse can’t be aborted, says Osinbajo

•VP tours world-class smart card facility in Lagos •Fed Govt is democratising broadband connectivity.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) has assured the citizens that the country’s “extremely bright economic future” cannot be aborted despite the current challenges facing it.

He spoke yesterday during a facility tour of SecureID’s premises, a smart card manufacturing company, which is based in Lagos.

A statement issued by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Mr. Laolu Akande, yesterday, said SecureID is the first of such companies in sub-Saharan Africa and one of the three such cutting-edge facilities on the continent, with top prime global certifications.

According to the statement, while inspecting the facility, Osinbajo had said: “The economic future of our nation is extremely bright. Yes, we have challenges today and they may look daunting. But let me assure you that these issues will be resolved. The march of this nation to its manifest destiny as Africa’s leading economic power will not be aborted. We are more than able to overcome.”

He said the Buhari Administration in “following the recommendation of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council, has determined that manufacturing will be our main focus in bringing about dynamic growth, jobs and exports

“This will mean retooling our business environment for greater competitiveness, especially with the takeoff of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement.

“We are rethinking our tax regimes, sorting out external and internal trade issues, getting our regulatory authorities; SON, NAFDAC, and even Customs, to see their roles more as business facilitators rather than policemen or revenue generators. Our environment must be friendly for local businesses first, foreign investments will follow enthusiastically,” Osinbajo said.

Commenting on the efforts of the administration to position the country as a leading economic beacon on the continent, the VP also stated that the Buhari administration was ramping up efforts in improving the country’s infrastructure and digital space.

“Aside from the work we are doing with other infrastructure such as rail, roads and power, we are committed to a plan of democratising broad band connectivity. Our programme, which we have reiterated in our Economic Sustainability Plan, is broadband connectivity for all by 2023.

“The Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy launched the National Broadband Plan which is designed to deliver data download speeds across Nigeria of a minimum 25mbps in urban areas and 10mbps in rural areas, with effective coverage available to at least 90% of the population at affordable prices by the target date. Broadband connectivity is as important as electricity in the digital age. Unlike electricity, we do not have to make several mistakes before getting it right,” the VP said.

Hailing the efforts of the founder and Managing Director of SecureID, Mrs. Kofo Akinkugbe, Prof. Osinbajo described SecureID facility as a place of history, innovation and creativity.

Mrs. Akinkugbe highlighted the significance of the Vice President’s visit, noting that he had come to see some of the much-touted potential being realised. She added that SecureID was a good entrepreneurial story of an abiding faith in God and the nation, proving the viability of investing and staying in the course.

She commended the Federal Government for establishing institutions and agencies to support and encouraged start-ups, MSMEs and other enterprises that had offered assistance to the company.

In his remarks, a representative of the Bank of Industry said he was excited to partner with SecureID, being a pioneer of world-class status in the industry, as well as making world class products, while generating foreign exchange earnings and creating jobs.

Others who spoke at the event were the Corps Marshall, Federal Road Safety Corps Boboye Oyeyemi; and Deputy Managing Director, First Bank of Nigeria Mr. Gbenga Osoba.

Accompanying the Vice President were the Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, Office of the Vice President, Mr. Ade Ipaye; Minister of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada; representative of the Governor of Lagos State, His Lordship, the Anglican Bishop of Lagos State, Bishop Humphrey Olumakaiye and other government functionaries.

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