Lift Above Poverty Organisation has canvassed for increased private sector involvement in economic transformation initiatives.
The Founder, LAPO, Dr Godwin Ehigiamusoe said, “There can be no socio-economic transformation in Nigeria and, indeed, in any developing nation without the active participation of non-state actors such as business leaders, scholars, labour and civil society organisations.”
The organisation and other stakeholders examined options for non-state intervention towards sustainable socio-economic transformation in the country at the 25th LAPO Annual Development Forum in Lagos.
The guest speaker at the occasion, Prof Mike Obadan, who is a non-executive director of the board of the Central Bank of Nigeria, said while the public sector must generally be seen not to be competing with the private sector, the government could not abdicate its “catalystic, regulatory and development role of ensuring economic and social development.”
He said, “The government would also have to provide the enabling environment and foster private enterprises development. On its part, in promoting socio-economic transformation, the private sector is expected to perform its roles.”
He added that in recent years, major operators in the organised private sector, apart from contributing two per cent of their assessable profits to an education tax fund, for example, had also played notable roles through their corporate social responsibility activities in the human development and service delivery sectors.
“One major area where the private sector must cooperate substantially with the public sector to ensure enhanced growth performance of the economy is the annual government budget,” he said.
The Chairman, LAPO, Dr Osarenren Emokpae, said the role of LAPO in microfinance and rural development in the country required intellectual support and guidance, which successive sessions of the forum provided.
While noting that it was founded to address the challenges of poverty, namely material deprivation, poor health and social exclusion, he said part of its development interventions included the provision of micro-credit or microfinance, health awareness activities and social empowerment.