The Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Wednesday, said no amount of prayer and fast by Nigerians could move the nation forward without hard work.
Osinbajo said as a pastor himself, he understood the law of sowing and reaping and knew the implication of leaving what was supposed to be done undone.
He spoke in Abuja during an interactive session organised for public and civil servants on the implementation of the three Executive Orders which he signed last week.
He said the prosperity and abundance being enjoyed by great nations today were not created by spirits, but by men.
While saying the executive orders were meant to aid the ease of doing business in Nigeria, he warned that anytime government officials deliberately delayed what they could do immediately, they were holding back the future of the country.
Osinbajo stated, “No matter how much you pray or fast, our country cannot grow without some of us deciding to do the hard work that makes nations work.
“I am a pastor, a spiritual person, and I understand the law of sowing and reaping. It is a spiritual law that has tremendous physical implications. Every time that we delay, or frustrate what we can do today, leaving it till tomorrow, we hold back the future. We too must reap what we have sown by experiencing delays.
“If you help others to achieve, if you help your nation, you have sown good seeds. You will find help and you will prosper too.”
Osinbajo urged the officials not to see the policies as government but personal policies.
He warned government officials against stifling businesses by delaying their registration, adding that such unnecessary delays also affected employment.
“Every generation of people owes the next generation a debt. That debt is paid by ensuring that we provide for the means for the next generation to survive.
“Or at least, we have a duty to ensure that we do not destroy the means of survival and prosperity of the next generation.
“But there are some people in every generation who have a special burden, a more important role than others in preparing for present prosperity and future abundance.”
Osinbajo stated that small or large businesses could not be created or could be frustrated out of existence if the environment for doing business in a country was harsh or difficult.
He stated, “So when a potential business owner wants to register a company, collect tax clearance certificate or obtain NAFDAC registration or SON certification, or expatriate quotas, or any other papers, approvals or certification from government, and we do not willingly and efficiently help him or her, we are killing the jobs and prosperity that he would have created.
“Every time we say come back next week to someone for something we can do today, we postpone prosperity of one person but in reality, we postpone the prosperity of so many who would have earned something from the business.
“So every time that a public official is an obstacle to business in any way, he attacks the prosperity of our economy and he attacks our future because it means our children cannot find jobs.”
On improved remuneration, Osinbajo assured the officials that they were in safe hands with him and President Muhammadu Buhari in the saddle.
“I have served in the public service most of my adult life. As a university teacher, adviser to a federal minister and attorney-general, I earned salaries; so I understand how salary increases can be such good news,” Osinbajo added.
The acting President stated that Nigerians would soon start seeing the manifestation of some of the reforms taken by the Federal Government in the agricultural sector.
He declared that the country would soon start producing local rice that would compete favourably with any brand in the world.
Osinbajo said this in Abuja during an interactive session with some middle level civil and public servants on the ease of doing business.
He called on Nigerians to increase their patronage of products manufactured locally, adding that this would enable the government to reduce the level of unemployment in the country.
Citing the example of rice production, he explained that Nigeria had enough capacity to grow quality rice that would meet the demands of not only Nigerians but all the countries in Africa.
Osinbajo stated that if Nigerians could consume what the country produced locally, the twin problems of poverty and unemployment would be easily addressed.
He said it was worrisome that rice imported from China, India and Thailand was sold at cheaper prices to those produced locally, adding that this was as a result of subsidy enjoyed by farmers in those countries.
The acting President added, “It is worrisome that locally produced rice is still expensive than imported rice from India, China and Thailand.
“Rice produced in these countries are subsidised by their respective governments making rice from the region cheap and affordable.
“By subsiding rice production for farmers, more jobs are created. We are planning to introduce some kinds of assistance to our farmers in due course. Our rice will have to compete with any rice in the world.”