ABUJA (Budget and National Planning’ Report)- The Federal Government has commenced consensus building with experts and critical stakeholders in and outside the government to ensure the successful delivery and implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) Roadmap.
Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, who disclosed this at an ERGP Implementation stakeholders’ dialogue session in Abuja recently , said government believes in forging partnership and working together with all stakeholders to achieve desired goals, especially in the implementation of the ERGP.
He said just as the Plan was developed through an extensive consultative process to ensure collective ownership, the dialogue session is part of the process set out by the Ministry to consult and harvest valuable inputs in order to further fine-tune the approach for enriching the ERGP Implementation Roadmap.
“As a government we believe that we can only succeed in transforming Nigeria if we work closely with stakeholders. This is the first of many consultative processes we will be holding on plan implementation, as well as to get feedback from stakeholders.”
He noted that just as the ERGP was developed through an extensive consultative process to ensure collective ownership, plan implementation will involve constant and continuous dialogue and consultations with relevant stakeholders.
Faithful implementation of the ERGP is one of the cardinal focus of government, having realized that lack of diligent implementation was largely responsible for the failure of previous plans.
Already, the Ministry has commenced the process of establishing a Delivery Unit, as well as Implementation Units, to facilitate the effective implementation of the Plan. This is to be complemented with the establishment of special task forces on the key execution areas of the Plan.
Participants at the dialogue session were drawn from the ranks of economic experts, relevant public and private sector operators, international development partners and civil society activists, among others.
The stakeholders were informed of the commencement of the process of developing a detailed implementation road-map. “This will lay out the roadmap for a step by step delivery of each of the strategies. Each strategy will be further broken down into component activities, sub-activities and actions. Each action will be supported by clearly assigned responsibilities, which will be sequenced against clear milestones and timelines for ease of monitoring”.
The Minister stressed that the benefits of the ERGP cannot be fully appreciated unless its provisions are effectively and faithfully implemented. While admitting that the country’s plan implementation track record has not been very good, he pointed out that there was a conscious effort to ensure that the ERGP does not go the way of previous plans. Section 7 of the plan is specifically dedicated to implementation.
The section says that focus must be on priorities; there must be clear accountability; target must be set and detailed action plans developed; resources must be mobilized and allocated to the priorities; an enabling policy and regulatory environment must be created; and delivery units must be set up to monitor and drive progress.
Reflecting on the modest gains from recent Government policy interventions aimed at reflating the economy and putting the country on the path of sustained inclusive growth and development, the Minister said the tempo must be sustained through effective implementation of the ERGP.
While appreciating Nigerians and international agencies and partners for all the words of encouragement, the Minister said Government is very encouraged by the positive feedback it has been receiving on the ERGP.
“The IMF/World Bank have projected that we will be moving back to a positive growth trajectory of 0.8% in 2017. Whilst this is much lower than our target of 2.19% by the end of this year in the ERGP, it underscores one fact: all projections indicate that we will be climbing out of recession this year..
“Recent reports by the NBS confirm that inflation rate has been trending downwards in the past two months. Our Agricultural sector, one of the key sectors expected to drive growth in our Plan, continues to show growth. These positive results and projections, though modest, are all evidence that our economic policies are the right ones.”
He re-emphasized the intention of government which is to move Nigeria away from a jobless growth driven mainly by petroleum revenues, to an inclusive and broad-based growth which will involve changing Nigeria in a fundamental way; with the major aim “of building a new Nigeria where we grow what we eat, consume what we make and produce what we use.”
The ERGP sets to achieve three broad objectives. These are: (a) restoring growth to a positive and sustained path, (b) investing in the Nigerian people to improve their living standards, and (c) building an economy that is globally competitive.
To achieve all of these, the Plan outlines five key execution priorities which are to (I) maintain a stable macroeconomic environment, (ii) tackle the country’s protracted energy problem particularly power and domestic refining of petroleum products to meet local demand, (iii) invest in agriculture to achieve food security, (iv) improve transportation infrastructure throughout the country and (v) accelerate the pace of the country’s industrialization through a focus on SMEs.