By Michael Eboh
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, lamented the widespread inequality in Nigeria, stating that a significant proportion of the country’s wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few Nigerians.
Speaking in Abuja, at the opening session of the 25th Nigerian Economic Summit, NES, Buhari disclosed that these few wealthy Nigerians are based in only five states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
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He, however, noted that the Federal Government was putting in place measures to promote inclusiveness, noting that over the last four years, the government had been focused on lifting a large percentage of Nigerians out of poverty, uplift the disadvantaged and encourage inclusivity.
Wealth, prosperity not same
Buhari said: “Today, many mistake prosperity with wealth. They are not necessarily the same. Experts and analysts explain economic trends by making references to indicators of wealth. Wealth, however, in its simplistic form, is money or other assets. In recent years, global events have shown that when a society and its leaders are driven and motivated by these alone, the ultimate outcome is a divided state of severe inequalities.
“But a prosperous society is one where majority of its citizens have an acceptable standard of living and a decent quality of life.
“Nigeria is a country with close to 200 million people living in 36 states and the FCT. A significant proportion of Nigeria’s prosperity today is concentrated in the hands of a few people living primarily in four or five states and the FCT. Some of the most prosperous Nigerians are here in this room.”
Buhari further noted that from his recent visits to the United Nations, Niger Republic, Japan and South Africa, he observed the increased consensus by leaders, both government and in the public and private sectors, that to address population growth, security and corruption matters in developing economies, policies and programmes must focus on promoting inclusivity and collective prosperity.
According to him, this shift implies that the concept of having competitive free markets that focus on wealth creation alone would be replaced by those that propagate the creation of inclusive markets which provide citizens with opportunities that will lead to peaceful and prosperous lives.
Only local solutions can solve Nigeria’s problems
Furthermore, he advised participants at the summit to adopt proposals that are productive, inventive and innovative, adding that they should also be wary of the fact that Nigeria’s unique challenges can only be solved by made in Nigeria solutions.
“As a government, we very much look forward to our continued collaborating with the private sector in designing and implementing developmental projects that will keep Nigeria on track for sustained, inclusive and prosperity driven growth.”