The United Kingdom has said Nigeria is fast becoming a regional and global powerhouse, and would become the third largest country in the world by 2050.
United Kingdom High Commissioner in Nigeria, Dr. Richard Montgomery, on Wednesday, attributed the feat to the various reforms and multi-sector reorganisations initiated by the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration.
The British envoy made the observation in a goodwill message at the 2023 Cabinet Retreat organised held for ministers, presidential aides, permanent secretaries and top government functionaries, which was held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Montgomery, who assured Nigeria of the UK’s continued support in the spirit of mutual respect and partnership, acknowledged the daunting economic, security and social challenges confronting Nigeria.
He, however, applauded the President’s reform initiatives aimed at solving the challenges.
The High Commissioner noted that Nigeria is projected to become third largest country in the world by the year 2050.
He said: “Mr. President, I’d like to recognize Nigeria as a growing regional and global powerhouse. You are likely to become the third largest country in the world by 2050. I applaud your plans to stabilise the economy and put it on a higher growth path to prosperity, on which so much else depends.
“The UK stands ready to support in the spirit of mutual respect. The UK stands ready to stand up on our partnerships across a range of areas and I wish you and your government all best wishes and goodwill in your work ahead.
“Nigeria faces big security, economic and social challenges. In a global context, the big challenges are difficult global economy, shifting geopolitical and foreign policy pressures and as I said in public before, I applaud the big and bold economic reforms that you are taking forward.
“I admire your leadership of Economic Community of West African States, your strong voice on democracy and your G-20 international engagement, all of which are thrust Nigeria back onto the international stage.
“I also wanted, Mr. President, to use my goodwill message to confirm UK’s renewed partnership with Nigeria and with your cabinet and with the Nigerian people. Nigeria really matters to the UK; we share history; we share a commitment to democratic politics, we share interests in defense and security and trade and investment.”
He applauded Tinubu’s initiatives to enhance economic stability and steer the country towards a more prosperous growth trajectory.
He also added that the eight priorities of the administration had provided clarity of purpose.
The World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, stated that the bank has committed over $11 billion in the past three years for government at both the federal and the sub-national levels.
Chaudhuri, who assured the President of the bank’s support in his administration’s “incredibly important and challenging task of lifting millions of Nigerians out of poverty and making lives better for everyone”.
He noted that the country was at a critical juncture to either continue muddling through business as usual with the risk of things falling apart or have the courage to chart a new course, to take bold steps to finally see Nigeria rise to its true potential.
He said, “I hope that through what we’ve been able to do that we will be able to continue supporting you, as you realize this enormously important task.
“Although we are at the World Bank, we’re a development organisation and over the last three and a half, four years that I’ve been here, our board has committed over $11 billion in financing for the government, and our financing is meant to grow government at both the federal and at the sub national levels. So, we’re here to support your programmes, we take guidance from you.
“But even though we have the World Bank in our name, I hope you will think of us as more than a bank. I mean, I really hope that we will be able to earn your trust that we have something more to offer in the nature of solutions to help you think through and then implement the priorities, the focus areas that you’ve laid out by bringing in ideas and experience.
“Financing is only part of the solution. It’s really the ideas and the vision. So, you have my commitment. I and the team, the entire World Bank across the globe, we’re here to support you on that.
“I would also like to say that I feel particularly privileged to have been here in Nigeria these last four years, especially in the last few months at this critical juncture where Nigeria faced critical choice whether to continue muddling through business as usual with the risk of things falling apart growing by the day or have the courage to chart a new course, to take bold steps to really finally see Nigeria rise to its true potential.”
Chaudhuri commended President Tinubu’s bold steps since assumption of office to chart a new course for Nigeria to provide the renewed hope agenda that he promised the citizens.
The three-day retreat began with the administrative processes for the delivery of government policies, plans and projects.
Among the lectures lined up are: Roles and responsibilities of ministers”. The session was handled by former Senate President/former Secretary to Government of the Federation, Anyima Pius Anyim.
A former Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Oladapo Afolabi, delivered a lecture on “Management of the Federal Executive Council: Processes and procedures”.
The HoCSF, Mrs. Folashade Yemi-Esan took the lecture on “Administrative processes, reforms in the civil service and managing relations between the ministers, permanent secretaries and CEOs of parastatals.
Accountant-General of the Federation, Mrs. Oluwatosin Madein, spoke on: “Financial regulations and fiscal management”.
The Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze deliver a lecture on “Federal Government budget processes and the role of cabinet members”. One-time Director-General of Bureau of Public Procurement, Emeka Ezeh, spoke on: “Procurement processes in the public service”. The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Ola Olukoyede gave a lecture on: “Corruption: Nipping it in the bud”. His counterpart in the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission Musa Aliyu took another session on the same topic.
Others lecturers were: Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila (Managing relationship between executive and the legislature: Expectations from ministers; President, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, Ike Neliaku (Public relations to citizens engagement and town hall meetings) and Information and National Orientation Minister, Mohammed Idris (Ethics and best practices in public communication by political office holders).