Obasanjo: Neglect of private sector retarding growth

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday attributed the slow rate of infrastructural development in Nigeria to lack of synergy between the public and private sectors.

Obasanjo, who was the Chairman of the 2017 Annual Seminar of Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KADCCIMA), said the Nigerian government had over the years paid very little attention to the private sector.

He said it was important to develop deep synergy between the two to tackle the wide infrastructure deficit in the country and accelerate national development.

The former president explained that the relationship had not been productive because for sometime, the public sector regarded those in the private sector as “parasites” reaping from where they did not sow and only interested in making profit.

He said the theme of the seminar, `Promoting Public/Private Partnership as a Panacea for Accelerated Growth and Development’, stressed the need for the government and private sector to work together for the common good of the country.

Obasanjo noted that the engagement of more people from the private sector in government was helping to encourage a more robust relationship, and that for the country to experience any serious development, it must view the public and private sector as two legs necessary for the country to move forward.

“Nothing would work if the emphasis is on the public or private sector, there must be synergy between the two for reasonable growth,” he said.

And blaming the country’s retrogressive growth to poor leadership, Obasanjo said, “We are not there, is a fraction of leadership. We are where we are not because of God’s design, given our human and natural resources, but because of bad leadership that could not put the resources to good use. The countries that are better than us today are better because they are committed, focussed and understands what it takes to develop. Until we get the problem of leadership right, we will not go anywhere.”

The guest speaker, Dr. Shamsudden Usman, in his lecture spoke for a clear government objective and longer time plan that would address infrastructural deficit, targeting on provision of first class infrastructure in key sectors of the country as well as high level political support to achieve a sustainable development growth.

The governor of Kaduna state, Malam Nasiru El-Rufai said the state had developed an N800 billion five-year-plan between 2016 and 2020 to drive the economy of the state.

The president of the chamber, Dr. Muheeba Dankaka appealed to government to work toward improving Nigerian business environment to reverse dwindling economic challenges.