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Uduaghan to incoming govt: we need national consensus on economy’s direction

Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State yesterday in Lagos asked the incoming Buhari administration to forge a national consensus on economy’s direction to move the country forward.

He also advocated the creation of a stimulus package for states and local governments of the federation for the purpose of bailing them out of the present economic quagmire.

The governor spoke during the presentation and launch of a book,Delta Beyond Oil: A legacy of Sustainable Development,co-edited by Mr. Sam Omatseye, Chairman, Editorial Board ofThe Nationand Mr Oma Djebah, a former Delta Commissioner of Information,.

The stimulus package, according to him, “has to be discussed and attended to quickly” in view of the difficulties being faced by about 30 states and the federal government to pay their workers.

Blaming the failure of the outgoing Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration at the centre to grow the nation’s economy on the lack of national consensus, he said: “I am sure many of us in the audience will recall several attempts that were made by the PDP government at the centre to ensure that we build up our fiscal buffers, reduce our foreign debt, invest in foreign assets through the sovereign wealth fund and have something for the rainy day, but somehow lack of national consensus made that impossible.”

He said that from May 29,the All Progressives Congress (APC) must “prove it’s a party to be trusted,” as Nigerians are anxious to see how the party conducts itself once in power.

“Is the APC in power better or different from the APC in opposition? The answer is blowing in the wind. Though it might be too early to judge, I have my deep doubt,” he said.

“With a growth rate of 6.08%, Nigeria’s GDP value represents 0.84% of global economy. This is quite small. I think, therefore, the change the APC wants to make should be their ability to double the size of Nigeria’s economy. Under current growth rate of 6.08%, it will, by some estimates, take 11 years to accomplish.

“I don’t know how many Nigerians that will be patient for that to happen in 11 years. To create prosperity, the APC must work hard to double the national growth rate and hence double the size of Nigeria’s economy at a shorter time. Otherwise, Nigerians are going to show the APC the door in 2019.”

Commenting on the national polity, Uduaghan said he shelved his senatorial ambition in order to allow peace reign in the state since security is one of the cardinal agenda of his tenure.

Co-editor, Mr Omatseye, said the book was originally scheduled for presentation during the governor’s last birthday, but had to be postponed on account of certain political developments at the time.

He described the book as a compendium of the governor’s life as a public officer, his many sided energy, quiet strength and grace.

“This is a story of Governor told by others. It is the prospect of the fare of witnesses that made the promise of putting this book together so compelling,” he said.

The book was reviewed by Mr Kunle Ajibade, Executive Director ofThe Newsmagazine, and formally presented to the public by Chief Philip Asiodu, Chief Economic Adviser to the President during the Obasanjo administration.

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Posted By BOBRICKY On 08:59 Sat, 23 May 2015

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