President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday in Abuja administered oaths of
office on members of the newly constituted Presidential Economic
Advisory Council (PEAC), and also set an agenda of what they should
accomplish in the shortest possible time.
Speaking at a meeting with the 8-man Council chaired by Prof. Doyin
Salami, President Buhari charged them to focus on developing reliable
data that will properly reflect what is happening in the country.
The President who called the task before the PEAC ”most important
national assignment”, said:
”As you develop your baseline study, I would like you to focus on
primary data collection.
”Today, most of the statistics quoted about Nigeria are developed
abroad by the World Bank, IMF and other foreign bodies.
”Some of the statistics we get relating to Nigeria are wild estimates
and bear little relation to the facts on the ground.
”This is disturbing as it implies we are not fully aware of what is
happening in our own country.
”We can only plan realistically when we have reliable data. As you are
aware, as a government, we prioritised agriculture as a critical sector
to create jobs and bring prosperity to our rural communities.
”Our programs covered the entire agricultural value chain from seed to
fertiliser to grains and ultimately, our dishes.
”As you travel in some rural communities, you can clearly see the
impact. However, the absence of reliable data is hindering our ability
to upgrade these programmes and assure their sustainability.”
The President also used the occasion to set agenda and expectations from
the Council, constituted on September 16, 2019, to replace the Economic
Management Team (EMT).
On the Social Investment Programmes (SIPs), the President told members
that his administration was working to measure the impact of the
programme targeted at improving the well-being of millions of poor and
As such, the President said he had directed the new Minister for
Humanitarian Affairs to commence a comprehensive data-gathering exercise
in all Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in the North East.
”Today, we hear international organisations claiming to spend hundreds
of millions of dollars on IDPs in the North East. But when you visit the
camps, you rarely see the impact.
”In 2017, when the National Emergency Management Agency took over the
feeding of some IDPs in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, the amount we spent was
significantly lower than the claims made by these international
”Therefore, actionable data is critical to implement effective
strategies to address pressing problems such as these humanitarian
”I, therefore, look forward to receiving your baseline study as this
will help us shape ideas for a sustainable and prosperous future,” the
On his expectations from the council, the President urged them to
proffer solutions on how to move the country and economy forward.
The President directed the Council to coordinate and synthesize ideas
and efforts on how to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10
years, working in collaboration with various employment generating
agencies of government.
”I am told you worked throughout last weekend in preparation for this
”I have listened attentively to findings and ideas on how to move the
country and the economy forward.
”Yes, Nigeria has exited the recession. But our reported growth rate is
still not fast enough to create the jobs we need to meet our national
ambition of collective prosperity.
”Reason being we had to tread carefully in view of the mess we
”Many of the ideas we developed in the last four years were targeted at
returning Nigeria back to the path of growth.
”I am sure you will also appreciate that during that time, our country
was also facing serious challenges especially in the areas of insecurity
and massive corruption.
”Therefore, I will be the first to admit that our plans were
conservative. We had to avoid reckless and not well thought out
”However, it was very clear to me after we exited the recession that we
needed to re-energise our economic growth plans. This is what I expect
from you, ” he said.
President Buhari also assured the Council that the Federal Government
will ensure that all their needs and requests were met before the next
technical sessions in November.
He said all key ministries, departments and agencies will be available
to meet and discuss with them on how to collectively build a new Nigeria
that caters for all.
”Now, no one person or a group of persons has a monopoly of knowledge
or wisdom or patriotism.
”In the circumstances, you may feel free to co-opt, consult and defer
to any knowledgeable person if in your opinion such a move enriches your
deliberations and add to the quality of your decisions, ” he said.
Chairman of Council, Professor Salami, said the mandate was about
“Nigeria first, Nigeria second, and Nigeria always,” adding that it was
about Nigerians, not as numbers, but as people.
He added: “Our goal is that the economy grows in a manner that is rapid,
inclusive, sustained and sustainable, so that Nigerians will feel the