The Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has said his role in the current administration is to supervise the economy, adding that there would be no such thing as coordinating minister for the economy as was obtained in the immediate past government.
Osinbajo made the statement while receiving the Australian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Jonathan Richardson, in his office.
During the National Economic Summit in Abuja four weeks ago, Osinbajo was asked during a presidential dialogue why the president was absent at the Summit and he responded, saying that the president wished to be present, but due to pressing national engagements, couldn’t attend. He apologised and then noted that as vice-president his role was to supervise the economy.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Osinbajo said: “We are not going to have a system like where there was a coordinating minister. No, there would not be anything like that.”
He said as vice-president, his role was “to ensure that everyone that is involved in economic activities is coordinated in such a way that the president is fully briefed of what everyone is doing, such that we are all on the same page and to make it easier for the president to make decisions.”
Osinbajo also expressed the willingness of the federal government to deepen the existing bilateral relations especially in the area of economic cooperation with the government of Australia in mining, agriculture, shipping and the transport sectors as well as in the area of infrastructure development.
Explaining the reason for Nigeria’s interest in the deepening of economic cooperation between the two countries, Osinbajo said “the federal government will be interested in exploring deeper relationship on economic cooperation as it is a major area in diversifying our economy.’’
He lauded Nigeria’s excellent bilateral relations with Australia and commended the Australian government for the various capacity building initiatives in Nigeria and its investments in some key sectors of the economy.
In his remarks, the High Commissioner of Australia to Nigeria noted that his country’s bilateral relations with Nigeria had grown over the years.
He disclosed that his country was seeking to enhance relations with Nigeria in areas of commercial development and was ready to offer technical assistance in some priority sectors.
Meanwhile, a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice-President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, issued in Abuja yesterday, noted the unprecedented publicised opening of the technical and commercial bids by 278 firms for the purchase of the nation’s crude oil by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in Abuja, drew comments from the vice-president, during a brief media chat in Maiduguri, where he was while the opening of the bids was taking place.
The vice-president said “as you know, our most important revenue earner is crude oil and whatever is associated with it ought to be transparently handled and that’s why you’ve seen that the crude oil round of bids, were done in the open and that is a tradition that we intend to continue.’’
The statement said before now Nigerians only found out about the crude oil bids through an official announcement of the winner in a process that had little or no trace of public accountability.
Osinbajo however added that “every Nigerian will be entitled to see for his or herself that there is a fair process and that process is one that they themselves can interrogate and that’s exactly what we intend to do.”
According to him, “That processes will be open, accounts will be open, people will be able to see for themselves, they would know what is going on.”
“That is the entitlement of every citizen of Nigeria,’’ he added.