Prof Yemi Osinbajo, Nigerian Vice President, yesterday said the 2016 budget would be passed into law this week, with a promise that implementation would follow immediately.
He made the disclosure in his address at a programme sponsored by Covenant Christian Centre, the ‘Platform,’ held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, yesterday.
According to him, once the budget is assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari, government would immediately go to work and complete power projects that were not completed by the immediate past administration.
“The budget will become operational in the next few days,” he said.
The vice president however said the passage of the budget was barring any other unforeseen incidents.
Speaking on the topic “What do we have in our hands, tapping into dead capital” the vice president stated that Nigeria has a leadership, a leader that is ready to challenge the rotten system, one that has said he is ready to kill corruption rather let corruption kill us.
He reiterated the resolve of the current administration to ensure a new culture of probity and accountability in governance saying, “It’s a new day in Aso Rock.”
“Nearly a year on, there are many problems and many have asked where is the change? Is this the change we voted for? Even some fifth columnists in our midst have suggested bring back corruption.
“The government of President Muhammadu Buhari is completely and irrevocably committed to change.
“We believe that, though it may not be easy, the early signs may be confusing and sometimes discouraging, there has never been a better opportunity than now to turn the country to the direction of success,” Osinbajo said.
He pointed out that Nigeria at the moment had the best opportunity in decades for profound change, and added that it was an opportunity in a generation and a revolution whose time had come.
“Everything around us tells us that the moment is now, can this change happen? Yes it can, yes it must. What do you have in your hands to make it happen? We have a country that is tired of corruption, tired of leadership without values, tired of an economy that is neither designed to accommodate enterprise, nor to create opportunity and wealth for the majority and there is a new day in Aso Rock.
“This new day is that of a presidency that is committed to ensuring a departure from the past culture of corruption and profligacy in government, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is completely and irrevocably committed to the change promised Nigerians,” Osinbajo emphasised.
Osinbajo told the gathering which comprised mostly of young Nigerians that the federal government was not unaware of the nation’s challenges, but said the youths must believe the problems facing the nation in the area of power, availability of petroleum products, infrastructure and agriculture are surmountable and resolvable.
He also reiterated the determination of the federal government to leverage technology under a number of initiatives intended to create the enabling environment that would stimulate youth entrepreneurship and innovation.
“The key to change and our future prosperity lies in innovation and this is critical to our development,” he said.
The vice president disclosed plans by the government to give attention to technology and innovation and that the government would be establishing an Innovation Fund this year such that would deploy significant resources aimed at creating opportunities for the youths to access funds for innovation and entrepreneurship.
According to him, the government would establish technology innovation hubs across the country; 2 super hubs (in Lagos and Abuja) and 6 regional hubs in the six geo-political zones in partnership with some major technology companies and that 65,000 young Nigerians would be trained in hardware and software services and in animation, to create a reservoir in technology capacity that can be exported annually abroad like the case of India.
The vice president also said that the federal government would on June 23, 2016, launch a Presidential Technology Innovation Initiative targeted at 50 Nigerians engaged in innovative start-ups to be mentored by major technology innovation companies, and give bursary award to 100,000 STEM undergraduates developing their interest in programming, robotic and animation technology, in addition to deploying technology in the training of the 500,000 teachers that are expected to be employed under the social investment of government this year.
He said his office would institute a literary prize in poetry and short stories during independence anniversaries to encourage the field of humanity/arts.
Osinbajo also used the occasion to implore millions of youths in the country to join the vanguard for change under “a New Tribe of Nigerians” saying “we must not blink, no shaking until we turn this country around.”
He commended the convener of the platform, Pastor Poju Oyemade and his team for their tenacity and unwavering belief in the nation’s development, noting that “the Platform has through the years become a foremost opportunities for ideas and intellectual innovations in Nigeria.”