Minister for Budget and Planning, Senator Udo Udoma
The Federal Government, through the National Economic Recovery Growth Plan, is targeting a growth rate of seven per cent between 2017 and 2020.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, disclosed this at a meeting with select joint committees of the National Assembly as part of consultations towards packaging a strategic and all-inclusive economic policy document.
He said the need for the plan and its effective implementation was more imperative, given the current state of the nation’s economy.
The minister, according to a statement from his Media Adviser, Mr. Akpandem James, pleaded that every effort must be made to ensure that the new plan eventually did not suffer the fate of those before it.
To ensure that the NERGP does not go the way of others, he stated that the government was putting in place a delivery unit that would drive its implementation through effective monitoring and evaluation.
Udoma explained that the plan was structured in such a way that it would be the basis for all subsequent budgets, which was why the contribution and support of the National Assembly was very critical to ensure the effective realisation of its objectives.
The NERGP focuses on five broad areas namely: macroeconomic policy, economic diversification and growth drivers, competitiveness, social inclusion and jobs, and governance and other enablers.
The minister said, “This plan builds on the previous development plans the country has developed, particularly the Vision 20-2020. The development of this plan is part of a process we have been working on since we came into government.
“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. Our goal is to have an economy with low inflation, stable exchange rates and diversified inclusive growth.
“The proposed initiatives prescribed by the plan address the country’s poor competiveness, and are designed to improve the business environment and attract investment in infrastructure. Jobs and social inclusion are also key deliverables of the plan.”
In a related development, Udoma said during a meeting with the United Nations Development Programme Regional Director for Africa, Mr. Abdoulaye Mar Deiye, in Abuja, that although the country was focused on diversification of its economy, it needed oil to get out of the oil-propelled economy.
He said Nigeria’s immediate priority was to get oil production output back to the desired level to secure revenue needed to diversify the economy.
The minister explained that though the global slump in oil prices introduced some shocks that affected the country’s economy, the immediate reason for the slump into recession was the massive reduction in output caused by militancy in the oil-bearing Niger Delta region.