Mary Nnah
If Nigerians are to survive the present economic situation, government must allow more of private participation in the running of the nation’s economy, the Chairman, Pinnacle Leadership and Entrepreneurial Academy, Gbola Sokoya has said.

Speaking in a chat with THISDAY, on a planned lecture scheduled to hold in Lagos on Thursday, Sokoya decried the fact that there had been too much involvement of government in the running of the nation economy.
This, he said, has had negative effect on the economy.

Sokoya said the forthcoming lecture titled, “Sustainable National Development in Globalised Economy,” to be delivered by a United States of America-based Nigerian professor of Economics and Management, Prof. Sesan Soyaka, aims to simulate the private sector participation to get involved in national economic growth.

He noted, “There is too much of government involvement in the day to day running of the economy in Nigeria. Government is involved in everything that happens and this, to a large extent retards the economic growth of the nation.”

Speaking further, he said, “If more money is invested into the economy by the private sector, the development of the economy of this nation would be more rapid. Private sector has better efficiency than public sector, which is a proven case everywhere.

“No doubt, the plan of the present administration to stimulate the economy is good. I have read the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of this administration and I think it is in the right direction.
“That is why I want to stimulate the private sector, so that we do not just sit down and criticise government but take initiatives to contribute to the growth of the nation’s economy.

“You don’t need to talk to government before you know that the 180 million people in Nigeria must eat. Even if your own business is going to feed just hundred persons, just start it.
“Even if it means for you to sew cloths, everybody has to wear cloth, just start something. We have a huge market. You need to see the numbers of foreigners that come into this country on a regular basis looking for business opportunities. They are even trading in businesses that you and I can easily handle. There is too much of government in the economy, we need more of the private sector presence,” he said.

Cole Appointed into W’Bank Advisory Council
The Executive Director and Co-founder of Sahara Group, Tonye Cole has been appointed into the World Bank Group’s (WBG) Expert Advisory Council on Citizen Engagement.
The WBG established the Expert Advisory Council in 2014 to guide the development and implementation of the Strategic Framework for Mainstreaming Citizen Engagement in the bank’s operations.

The strategic framework was designed to give citizens a stake in decision-making in order to improve the intermediate and final development outcomes of their partnerships with government.

A statement on Monday, disclosed that Cole, would be one of the first two Nigerians ever appointed to the council.
The statement quoted the Sahara Energy boss as saying, “This platform will help articulate and address the real concerns of the private citizenry across the globe on a size and scale only the World Bank can provide.”

“The World Bank is a results driven institution. I am delighted at the opportunity to collaborate with other members of the council on robust agenda setting and implementation of initiatives that are so crucial to global sustainable development.”

Cole is one of the two designated private sector specialists on the council, which is composed of two representatives each from civil society, academia, the private sector, governments, foundations and development partner/donor organisations.
Other new members joining the Council are Flavia Milano (Inter-American Development Bank), Helena Bjunemalm (Swedish International Development Agency), Emily Martinez (Open Society Foundations) and fellow Nigerian Muhammed Sanu Abdullahi (Government of the State of Kaduna).

“My work with global agencies and institutions on sustainable development has only reinforced the importance of private and public-sector collaboration.
“My colleagues and I believe that continued cross-sectorial and multi-stakeholder engagement can transform the landscape on sustainability and social development for the next generation. I am feeling very positive as we collectively embark on this new chapter,” he added.

Commenting on Cole’s appointment, World Bank official, Jeff Thindwa, who oversees the council’s nomination and selection process, expressed delight at Cole’s addition to the Council, saying, “Mr. Cole will bring a unique private sector perspective to the Council. Combined with his longstanding experience serving global development institutions in various capacities, this positions Mr. Cole to make an impactful contribution to the work of the Council.”
Speaking on the appointment, Bethel Obioma, Head, Corporate Communications, Sahara Group, said it offers yet another platform for Cole to share his passion for “giving wings to aspirations.”