The President of the Nsukka Professionals Association, Mr. Charles Nwodo Jr, in this interview on the sidelines of its third annual summit held recently in Lagos, proffers recommendations on how the various tiers of governments in Nigeria can reposition their economies to survive the inevitable disruption in the global oil market. Nume Ekeghe presents the excerpts:
Tell us about the Nsukka Professionals Association (NPA)?
The NPA is an association of professionals, businessmen and entrepreneurs from the Nsukka cultural zone of Enugu state. The association is non-partisan, and is totally independent, with singular focus on issues around the progress and accelerated development of the Nsukka cultural zone and all the people from the zone.
What was this summit all about?
This is the third in the series of annual summits organised by the NPA, in line with our self-set mandate to our people and zone. Each summit focuses attention on key area of critical importance for national or state development. For example, our last summit focused on security threat from cross border migration, which as you know has now become a national issue of critical importance. Other activities of the NPA, include legislative and social advocacy, social outreaches, such as scholarship awards, mentorship and job placement initiatives, medical outreaches for rural communities, and other initiatives that represent our humble contribution to the development of our zone, our state and our country.
What was the objective of this summit?
This summit was designed to draw attention of policy makers and political leaders at all levels, to the inevitability of the disruption of the global oil market and expected progressive reduction in the revenue accretion to the federation account. Technological innovation, in the form of electric cars, electric aeroplanes, and growing effort for enforcement of emission control statutes across the world plus of course the expected exhaustion of oil reserves, all point to the great wisdom and urgency for oil producing countries to plan for alternative sources of revenue to supplement or replace oil revenues. Other oil producing countries such as Norway, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others have proactively launched bold national initiative in this regards. Panelists, made up of respected subject matter experts then proffered tested, concise and practical recommendations which if implemented, will effectively diversify and expand government revenues, so as to position the nation and constituent units for a post oil economic boom.
So what is the next step after this summit, how will your association ensure that the recommendations receive the attentions of governments at all levels?
As you saw, among the participants at this summit were government officials, political leaders and candidates for office in the forthcoming elections. We were deliberate in the profile of the guests we invited for the summit, just as we were in the choice of our speakers. The target stakeholders, who have the responsibility for successful implementation of the summit recommendations were fully in attendance. Beyond this however, the NPA as is our tradition, shall compile the highlights of the proceedings, and generate actionable recommendations, with suggested time lines to be delivered to policy makers, particularly the Governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. We shall also utilise the social and mainstream media to push the central issues arising from this summit to the awareness of the public, as a way of ensuring that the policy makers pay attention. Obviously this conversation with you journalists is one of such efforts.