With two and half years to go, President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday assured Nigerians and the international community that his administration will use the remaining years in office to improve access to quality education, health care and enhance productivity, while listing nine priority areas.
The President, who received Letters of Credence from Ambassadors/High Commissioners of eight countries at the State House, said efforts were being made to sustain Nigeria’s position as profitable investment destination with unequalled incentives in all sectors, especially large market and flexible tax system which investors from various countries can take advantage of.
The Ambassadors/High Commissioners who presented their Letters of Credence are: Hocine Latil of Algeria; Luong Quoc Thinh of Vietnam; Dr Benson Alfred Bana of Tanzania; Traore Kalilou of Cote d’Ivoire; Abakar Saleh Chahaimi of Chad; Jamal Mohammed Barrow of Somalia; Brahim Salem El Mami Buseif of Sahrawi Arab Republic and Mohammed Alibak of Iran.The President told the diplomats about Nigeria’s priority, and the need to streamline on people-focused policies.
“In our efforts to achieve a realistic domestic and foreign policy, as well as national development, we have identified the following nine priority areas to guide our policy directions over the next few years.
“Build a thriving and sustainable economy; Enhance social inclusion and reduce poverty; Enlarge agricultural output for food security and export; Attain energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products and expand transport and other infrastructural development.
“Expand business growth, entrepreneurship and industrialization; Expand access to quality education, affordable healthcare and productivity of Nigerians; Build a system to fight corruption, improve governance and create social cohesion; and improve security for all.’’Describing Nigerians as the “nation’s most prized assets’’, President Buhari said the nine priority mandates were already reflected in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, a medium-term initiative pioneered by the government to restore economic growth and development while leveraging the resourcefulness and resilience of the citizens.
The President urged the diplomats to use the opportunity of working in the country to improve relations with their governments and people.
“I have no doubt that you might have prior and in-depth knowledge of Nigeria’s huge potential which you will hopefully see for yourselves. I therefore, urge you to go around the country, see things for yourselves and report to your home governments. This is important as you all are representatives of both your sending and host states.’’
President Buhari said Nigeria will remain steadfast in pursuing deeper and valuable relations among nations, without discrimination.
“Nigeria strongly supports joint action to ensure a democratic and fair world order based on strict respect for the norms of international law, the United Nations Charter, recognition of the unquestionable value of cultural diversity, national sovereignty, and the right of all countries to decide their future freely, without external pressure.
“Nigeria does not divide its partners into big and small; we value and respect every country, and with every country we are ready to pursue dialogue, as well as build cooperation on the basis of equality and constructive mutual respect.
“These include our cooperation in strengthening regional, continental and global peace and security, resolving complex issues, settling conflicts, as well as addressing dangerous threats to mankind, among which include terrorism, proliferation of small arms and light weapons, human trafficking, cybercrimes, poverty, communicable diseases and epidemics.’’
Speaking on behalf of the Ambassadors/High Commissioners, the Ambassador of Algeria to Nigeria said each of the diplomats brings greetings and agenda from their home governments, but the bottom line remains to enhance cooperation and seek advancement in mutual areas of interest.
“On behalf of my colleagues, we thank you for receiving us. We know that your schedule is tight. As the giant of Africa, you are always focused on resolving conflicts in the continent, while taking care of your domestic issues as well.’’
The Algerian ambassador said the African ambassadors will leverage the opportunity to further enhance implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and learn from each other.