Lawrence Olaoye Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has said that the rampaging global Coronavirus disease (COVID- 19) has forced many countries in the world to consider international collaboration and cooperation. According to a statement made available to newsmen by his spokesman, Laolu Akande, Osinbajo stated this yesterday at the 8th German-Nigerian Business Forum which held virtually.
The event featured presentations by representatives of the German and Nigerian business communities. The Vice President, who stressed the importance of cooperation among nation’s to deal with the distributions caused by the global pandemic, added that Nigeria and Germany’s economic relations have become important because of their sheer positions and influence in their continents.
He said: “As it turned out, the pandemic is no respecter of borders, and has forced us to ponder on the importance of collaboration and international cooperation in solving some of our most pressing problems”.
Osinbajo continued: “2020 will probably go down as perhaps the most challenging year in recent global history. No one can be blamed for the circumstances that led to it.
However, history will hold us responsible as individual nations and collectively, if we do not see and seize the immense opportunities that the moment presents. “Bilateral cooperation is a major plank of that effort. We must use the German Nigeria forum to snatch growth and prosperity for our countries from the jaws of the pandemic.” Speaking specifically about the German-Nigerian business cooperation, the Vice President said; “there are several reasons why Nigeria and Germany’s economic relationship is an important and natural one.”
“With its population of nearly 200 million people and as the largest economy in Africa, Nigeria is a natural partner of Germany, which is also the largest economy in the European Union and also its most populous country. Both countries have a shared experience of paving the way in their respective continents and serve as strategic entry points for investors across industries,” he added.
The Vice President noted further that, “cooperation between our countries and between sectors, is now more important than ever and this forum is an essential platform for deliberating on the mutually beneficial ways that we can achieve our shared objectives as nations.
And we already have an excellent example the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI), a power infrastructure upgrade and modernisation programme, agreed to by the Nigerian government and Siemens AG of Germany, with the support of the German Government.”
“Under the initiative, the Nigerian government will on behalf of the other shareholders in the DisCos invest in infrastructure upgrades in the form of improved payment systems, distribution substations, transformers, protection devices, smart meters, transmission lines, etc.,” the Vice President added.
Stating the focus of government’s interventions aimed at addressing the fallouts of the pandemic, Osinbajo said the government has set for the nation priorities areas which include: Stabilizing the economy; achieving agriculture and food security; attaining energy sufficiency especially in power and petroleum products; improving transportation and other infrastructure and driving industrialization with a special focus on SMEs.
Other priority areas are: Expanding access to quality education, affordable healthcare and productivity of Nigerians; enhancing social inclusion by scaling up social investments; building a system to fight corruption, improve governance and strengthening national security.