Economy expanding at a fast rate — Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday said with the various crucial economic policies made by his government since inception, the nation’s economy was now expanding at a fast rate.

He said with the high rate of expansion, the economy was also offering high rate of returns on investments.

Jonathan made the submission in his remarks at the summit of Heads of State and Government of the Group of Eight Developing Nations (D-8) in Islamabad, Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

He told the gathering that in order to sustain the tempo; his administration recently introduced more investor-friendly measures.

Jonathan handed over the chairmanship of the organisation to his Pakistani counterpart, Asif Zardari, at the event after being in the saddle for two years.

He said, “The Nigerian economy is not only expanding at a fast rate, but also offers very high rate of returns on investments. Only recently, we adopted more investor-friendly measures, such as a new long stay visa policy for investors, and businessmen and women wishing to do business in our country.

“We have also strengthened the Bureau for Public Procurement to ensure transparency in the tender process for contracts.”

The President told his colleagues that his efforts to promote the D-8 strategic objectives were beginning to yield positive results.

He recalled that in June 2012, the Nigerian Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture embarked on a trade mission to explore opportunities for joint venture cooperation to three of the D-8 countries.

He said taking advantage of the D-8’s Preferential Trade Agreement, the NACCIMA trade mission succeeded in formalising trade deals with their counterparts in the countries visited.

Jonathan said, “I believe this is a cooperation model we can all build on, not just to increase D-8 intra-trade volume, but to make our organisation a major actor in the global economic system.

“With a population of over one billion, D-8 shares a sizeable volume of international trade. If we cooperate and increase the volume of trade among the D-8 countries, sooner than later, D-8 will be one of the leading global financial players.

“The significant increase in the number of cooperative endeavours by member states in the last two years provide evidence of our collective commitment to improve coordination and strengthen cooperation in the D-8’s major priority economic areas namely; agriculture, food security, trade, industrial cooperation, transportation and energy.”

Jonathan said Nigeria was happy to be part of the growing D-8 success story, adding that it was in order to expand trade and economic collaboration among members, and to ensure that the D-8 remained relevant as a multilateral platform for trade promotion that Nigeria hosted 15 out of the 36 meetings organised by the D-8 secretariat in the last two years.

He said the interactions facilitated useful exchange of ideas and expertise, as well as served as building blocks for productive and profitable partnerships among member countries.

The President said by focusing on the major priority economic areas and promoting cooperation in the field of small and medium-scale enterprises, member countries would be able to create employment opportunities, tackle poverty and bring prosperity to their citizens.

He said the best gift the group could give the member countries was to accelerate efforts to achieve the targets of the D-8 Road map for the Second Decade of Cooperation as adopted at the 6th summit in Kuala Lumpur in 2008.

He observed that though the D-8 was moving in the right direction, there was still much works to do to enable the group achieve its fullest potential.

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Economy expanding at a fast rate — Jonathan