The federal government is planning an economic summit. How necessary is it at this time?
Yes, this is the time we actually need it considering the economic situation we have found ourselves in. It will bring people together, including those from the chambers of commerce to enable us develop a roadmap that will take us to great economic heights. The economic environment is very harsh, considering the dwindling nature of the oil price globally. So, I hope that something will come out of the summit that can be implemented.
There have been calls in several quarters that the summit should be more inclusive rather than being elitist. What do you think about that?
That is what I was saying, that the summit should bring all people together. But as I am talking to you, we have not yet been officially contacted about the summit.
The government should get together a lot of people who have strong, practicable economic ideas. There is what we call crowd-sourcing. When you synergize the crowd-sourcing, you are asking people to come together and create ideas on things. This crowd-sourcing is a strategy of the Kaduna State government and I actually learnt from it when Governor Nasir El-Rufai said that some ordinary people brought some ideas to him which he is putting into use. So, we should not neglect or underrate the ideas that can come from the public, the common people.
What should this summit do differently, considering the fact that people are tired of repeated summits with the recommendations not followed?
We have no option than to do whatever thing we need to do to get out of this economic crisis. The government will have to immediately implement whatever is implementable. I know that with this present leadership, implementation will not be a problem. Now, we are at a crossroad and we have no other choice.
What agenda or policy framework do you think should be formulated by participants of the economic summit?
The general understanding is that our economy is not doing well, which informed the summit in the first place. Participants will have to take a hard look at the value of the currency and the downward trend of the oil price in the international market, as well as how to get money to fund our budget.
Talking about funding the budget is broad because we have an ambitious budget but the money is not there. How do we go about this?
We should critically look at how the money can be gotten. We should also be looking at how to get investors to create jobs. These are things that should be discussed at the summit. The summit should break into committees with specific assignments to come up with solutions.