Udo Udoma, Nigeria’s minister of budget and national planning, says the economic plan of the federal government to pull the country out of recession builds on the previous development plans, particularly the Vision 20-2020.
Briefing the national assembly about the plan —National Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, NERGP, — on Wednesday, December 7, 2016, Senator Udoma said the need for the plan and its effective implementation was all the more imperative, especially given the current state of the economy.
Recalling that the country has had several beautifully-packaged but hardly-implemented economic plans in the past, he said efforts must be made to ensure that the new plan does not eventually suffer the fate of its predecessors.
To ensure the NERGP does not go the way of others, he disclosed that government was putting in place a specially staffed delivery unit that will drive implementation of the NERG Plan through effective monitoring and evaluation.
The NERGP focuses on five broad areas: macroeconomic policy, economic diversification and growth drivers, competitiveness, social inclusion and jobs, and governance and other enablers.
Acknowledging receipt, and confirming consideration of earlier inputs from the national assembly, he told the lawmakers, drawn mainly from the relevant committees of the two chambers, that “we are here to consult you in a more organized and focused way so as to further enrich the plan with further inputs from you”.
He told them that the plan is national in nature and will require inputs from the National Assembly and the sub-national governments.
The time-frame for the plan is 2017 to 2020 and all subsequent annual budgets under the Buhari Administration will be driven by the NERGP.
“This plan builds on the previous development plans the country has developed, particularly the Vision 20-2020,” Udoma said.
“The development of this plan is part of a process we have been working on since we came into government. We started with the Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) for the 2016 budget.”
He explained that regarding the NERGP, consultations had been held with several stakeholders, including a retreat involving representatives of the private sector, academia, government officials and other stakeholders, which generated very insightful ideas on issues to consider in the plan.
“We also held a roundtable with the Honourable Commissioners and Permanent secretaries of State’s Ministries of Economic Planning and Budget, as well as our Development Partners,” he said.
“It is a medium-term plan (2017-2020), which is expected to drive Nigeria to a minimum growth rate of 7% within the plan period.
“However, the fact that we are in recession means that the plan is one that must also be designed to get us quickly out of recession. The NERGP therefore fulfills the dual goal of identifying short-term recovery initiatives to get us quickly out of recession, as well as presenting a medium-term growth plan.
“Our goal is to have an economy with low inflation, stable exchange rates, and a diversified inclusive growth. The proposed initiatives prescribed by the plan address the country’s poor competitiveness, and are designed to improve the business environment and attract investment in infrastructure. Jobs and social inclusion are also key deliverables of the plan.”
Gershom Bassey, the chairman of the session, who is also the vice chairman of the senate committee on petroleum upstream, spoke on the need to focus on some very strong points of the economy, as trying to address all the economic challenges at once may be counter-productive.