By Peter Egwuatu, Assistant Business Editor &Naomi Uzor
Speaking on the factors that should determine, who heads the Ministry of Finance, National President, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, NACCIMA, Hajiya Saratu Aliyu said Nigerians do not want someone who would learn on the job.
She said: “The country is at a very critical time with unemployment at 23.1 per cent. All the ministers need to engage with the private sector to ensure the economy is rebooted to create jobs, especially through the empowerment of Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs. NACCIMA would be playing a very proactive role in engaging with government on the economy to ensure we provide jobs for our youths and stem the increasing insecurity.
All the ministers’ efforts must be synchronised in the same direction. All stakeholders would be watching to see the level of ingenuity, resolve, and coordination that would be displayed by the incoming cabinet.
“Experience is key at this point for the nation. We cannot afford ministers who would be learning on the job. The President is wise and I am sure he would exercise discretion in putting square pegs in square holes. Competence of the ministers would go a long way in assuring local and international investors that Nigeria is ready and open for business.
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“The President has had the privilege of supervising the returning ministers and he is aware of their strengths. There is an argument for continuity for some of them. Some are better suited to handle greater responsibilities.’’
On agenda for the ministers, especially those in the critical sectors such as finance, industry, budget and national planning, and power among others, she said: “The number one agenda should be creating an enabling environment for private businesses so that we can create jobs. The ¦ 8.92 trillion federal budget is less than 10 per cent of the country’s GDP, so stimulating private sector investment is the key to rapidly growing the economy and providing the much-needed jobs. ‘’ NACCIMA president added.
On his part, Director-General, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, Mansur Ahmed said: “If they are adjudged to have done well, they may continue in their previous ministries.
Nigerians expect improved performance, not only from the ministers but from Mr President. One expects that the ministers should be mandated to deliberately build and strengthen the institutions under their watch. Of particular importance to us is the issue of those who will serve in the ministries that handle economic matters. One would expect that Mr President would assign the portfolio to tested and capable individuals.’’