On the occasion of the 57th Independence Anniversary of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on 1st October, 2017, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Romania wishes to seize this opportunity to thank all and sundry especially the Romanian Government for their support and cooperation. The Embassy of Nigeria in Romania further pledges for support and looks forward to a more productive cooperation.
The present situation in Nigeria
The Nigerian economy continues to face serious macroeconomic challenges and was in a recession for the first time in more than two decades. Gross domestic product (GDP) growth for 2016 is estimated at -1.5%, with a moderate recovery expected in 2017. This is attributed to a series of shocks, including the continued decline in oil prices, foreign exchange shortages, disruptions in fuel supply and sharp reduction in oil production, power shortages, and insecurity in some parts of the country, as well as low capital budget execution rate (51%). Managers of the economy responded to the recession with a package of monetary, fiscal and exchange rate policies.
The year 2017 outlook indicates a slow economic recovery. Growth is projected at 2.2% as economic policy reforms begin to take hold and a coherent set of policies to address the macroeconomic challenges and structural imbalances is implemented. In this regard, the federal government has developed a framework in the Nigeria Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (2017-20). The plan focuses on five key areas, namely: improving macroeconomic stability; economic growth and diversification; improving competitiveness; fostering social inclusion; governance and security. Some key reforms have been rolled out, including the conditional cash transfer initiative targeted at the poorest and most vulnerable population, improving capital budget execution, and strengthening public financial management at both federal and state levels.
Security remains a challenge despite gains made in the conflict with Boko Haram in the north east and the intensification of dialogue with militants in the Niger Delta. The recent developments of the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) Group in the South-East which has been metamorphosing from one stage to the other has posed a serious security challenge in the country. In addition to a military solution to all these security challenges, the Federal Government is committed to implementing economic recovery and development interventions aimed at addressing the deepening fragility and vulnerability in the conflict affected North – East and the Niger Delta. The Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE) was inaugurated towards the end of 2016 and is charged with co-ordination of all assistance and projects targeted at the most affected states in the region.
In fulfilment of the promises of the current Administration, the Federal Government has started paying out a monthly stipend of NGN 5,000 to the poorest and most vulnerable through the Conditional Cash Transfer Initiative (CCTI) of its Social Investment Programme (SPI). In addition, the Federal Government Free Feeding Programme of primary school pupils across the nation has kicked off with positive results, the N-P Programme, which provides employment to youth graduates have commenced in all the 36 states including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The acceleration of the implementation of the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) is a key priority for fostering industrialisation. The priority sectors identified are mining and quarrying, which contributed 7.1% to overall GDP in 2016, and manufacturing, which declined 2.6 % year on-year due to increased costs in business operations, resulting mainly from foreign exchange restrictions.
Three pillars of the present administration
The main three pillars of the present Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari are security, economic recovery and anticorruption. Tremendous achievements recorded in these pillars are:
- Renewed Vigour in the war against Boko Haram;
- Improved security cooperation with Nigeria’s immediate neighbours through Joint Multinational Force to battle Boko Haram and all forms of terrorism
- Waging a “non-negotiable” war against corruption;
- Diversification of the economy from oil to non-oil sector;
- Appreciable improvement in power supply in various parts of the country
- Mending of Nigeria’s fractured relationship with the world powers
- Prioritizing regional cooperation
- Introduction of investors friendly policies
Growing Nigeria-Romanian relations
Nigeria – Romania relations have been cordial since inception especially in the area of education. A more robust and strategic relation which may be costly on both sides would no doubt provide economic, security and political benefits given the structure of the economies, needs and resources of the two countries. Strengthening our relations will be a long-term process, considering the particularities of both Nigeria and Romania. The prerequisite for strengthening the relations include high-level dialogues and analysis of core bilateral engagements, capitalizing on mutual trust for expanding trade and investment, sharing experiences of transformation and putting in place mechanisms, that enable stronger people-to-people relations in areas such as education, defence, research, civil society, information communication technology,media and culture.
The recent official visit of Nigeria’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Khadijah Bukar Abba IBRAHIM to Romania in July this year, is a great boost in relaunching and strengthening of our bilateral relations. The visit is expected to further stimulate people to people contact on the one hand and to promote visits at the highest levels of governments between both countries.
Photo: Her Excellency Mrs. Jane Ada Ndem, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to Romania