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In an apparent move to show his displeasure over the state of the nation, former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has expressed sadness over the mass poverty in the land, orchestrated by the President Muhammadu Buhari‎ administration.
Obasanjo, maintained that during his tenure, his government was able to produce 25 billionaires, which the Buhari-led Federal Government may not achieve due to bad economic policies.
The former President, said this at a ceremony for the second edition of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, TEF, Entrepreneurship Forum in Lagos. He however, did not name the 25 billionaires.
“My delight is to be able to create Nigerian billionaires. I always say it proudly, that my aim when I was in government, was to create 50 billionaires from Nigeria. Unfortunately I failed, because I created only 25,” he explained.
Responding to an earlier remark by the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, who was also at the event, that the Federal Government had taken steps to improve the business environment, Obasanjo said Nigerians and investors “want to see the results.”
The former President, urged the Federal Government to ensure that they create conducive environment for entrepreneurs to succeed in Nigeria.
The former President added: “You have to create a conducive environment for people who want to do business here. We have to make them wanting to come to Nigeria, and if we cannot do that, we have failed. If you say you are doing that (referring to the Minister of Information), let us see the results.”



He noted the difficulties faced by prospective investors coming to Nigeria, and the challenges they face when setting up their businesses in the country.
Obasanjo said: “A situation where somebody wants to come to Nigeria to invest, and it takes almost six days to get visa, is not proper. In other countries, they would get visa at the airport. We need to be able to register a company at just one point. We have not taken advantage of all the opportunities we have to support our SMEs to be able to produce, and sell outside our shores. And if we don’t do a lot of that, those of you (the TEF Entrepreneurs) may be frustrated.
“Let me tell you what I know. Agric and agri-processed products from Nigeria, cannot enter into the United States. Even yam from Nigeria has to go through Ghana, before going to America. You know why? There is a certification that is required for our agric produce to enter, which we don’t have. Simple thing, we don’t have, but Ghana has it. And it doesn’t take much to put that in place. Unless we have it, we can’t export these items to America.”
He however, urged the young entrepreneurs to be resilient, saying it would not be a bed a roses.
Earlier, the Information Minister, said Buhari’s administration was focused on moving the country away from a mono-product economy, to a diversified one.
The Minister said: “We are left with no choice, but to explore other areas, because of the slump in crude oil price. The areas we are targeting include: agriculture, solid minerals, and the creative industries. As part of the government’s efforts at diversifying the economy, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture is encouraging the local production of rice, maize sorghum, millet, and soya beans. Today, farmers in 11 of the country’s 36 States, are receiving credit support through the Central Bank of Nigeria.”
He cited the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, which he said was successful in Kebbi State, adding that, it would soon be extended to some other States. The Minister said there had been efforts to boost power supply, and that funds for capital projects, had improved significantly.

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