By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA – Vice President, Yemi Osinabjo has stated that there would be no designation as “coordinating minister of the economy”, in President Mohammadu Buhari’s administration.
It will be recalled that coordinating Minister of the economy was a practice introduced in the last administration by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Speaking when he received the Australian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Jonathan Richardson, in his office on Wednesday, the Vice President submitted that the economy was under his care as the vice president of the country, saying that he would always keep the president abreast.
“We are not going to have a system like where there was a coordinating minister. No, there would not be anything like that.
My role is to ensure that everyone that is involved in economic activities, that there is a way by which the President is fully apprised of what everyone is doing such that we are all on same page and to make it easier for the President to make decisions.’’
Osinbajo also expressed the willingness of the Federal Government to deepen the existing bilateral relations especially in the area of economic cooperation with the Government of Australia, in mining, agriculture, shipping and transport sectors as well as in the area of infrastructure development.
Explaining the reason for Nigeria’s interest in the deepening of economic cooperation between the two countries, Prof. Osinbajo said ‘’the Federal Government would be interested in exploring deeper relationship on economic cooperation as it is a major area in diversifying our economy’’.
He lauded Nigeria’s excellent bilateral relations with Australia and commended the Australian government for the various capacity building initiatives in Nigeria and its investments in some key sectors of the economy.
Responding, the High Commissioner of Australia to Nigeria, Mr. Jonathan Richardson noted that his country’s bilateral relations with Nigeria had grown over the years.
He disclosed that his country is seeking to enhance relations with Nigeria in areas of commercial development and is ready to offer technical assistance in some sectors which the country has given priority to.
Meanwhile, the Vice President has applauded the opening of the technical and commercial bids by 278 firms for the purchase of the nation’s crude oil by NNPC in Abuja.
He said that it was an indication that the present government was determined to run an open and transparent government.
Osinbajo who had a brief media chat in Maiduguri at the opening of the bids said the process had been fair and transparent.
“As you know, our most important revenue earner is crude oil and whatever is associated with it, ought to be transparently handled and that’s why you’ve seen that the crude oil round of bids, the term bids, were done in the open and that is a tradition that we intend to continue.’
“Every Nigerian will be entitled to see for his or her self that there is a fair process and that process is one that they themselves can interrogate and that’s exactly what we intend to do.
“That processes will be open, accounts will be open, people will be able to see for themselves, they would know what is going on. That is the entitlement of every citizen of Nigeria”, he said.