The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, has said that the national economic recovery plan for the next three years will be ready next.
She explained at an economics communications workshop in Abuja on Thursday that the plan would serve as a guide for the preparation of annual budgets and would be a continuation of the initiatives contained in the Strategic Implementation Plan for the 2016 budget.
According to her, the plan will clearly state the economic policies of the government that will guide the investment decisions by domestic and foreign investors.
Ahmed said, “The plan is expected to build on the policies, initiatives, programmes and projects contained in the Strategic Implementation Plan for the 2016 budget. The economic recovery plan is expected to guide the economic management and budgeting process over the short to medium-term.
“Government will continue to put in place policies to expand the revenue base, plug leakages in the system, ensure greater transparency and accountability in the use of public funds, pursue job creation and support businesses and investments, especially local investments to grow.
“Approach adopted for the preparation of the plan is highly participatory and all-inclusive, with the private sector being actively involved in the process.”
In his keynote address, the Chief Executive Officer, Economic Associates, Dr. Ayo Teriba, proposed a holistic approach to economic reform to encourage inflow of foreign direct investment rather than demand restriction or price adjustment.
He identified the Diaspora funds as immediate and steady source of foreign currencies and extensive infrastructural development as sources of the FDI in the long term.
Teriba explained that the impressive foreign investment and growth experienced in the telecommunications sector since 2001 could be allowed in other critical sectors.
He called for the liberalisation of the power sector, rail transport, gas pipelines, power transmission and housing, among others.
The economist suggested an integrated infrastructural development in which pipelines could be constructed underneath the rail tracks and power transmission network above the rail tracks.
The policy directive needed, according to him, is to break government’s monopoly across all infrastructure and allow foreign investors to play more role.
He said, “The experience of the telecoms companies that arrived in Nigeria in 2001 when the government liberalised the sector that had been a government monopoly since independence is a testament to the huge growth and investment opportunities that Nigeria presents.
“Nigeria had only 300,000 telephone lines in 2001, but these companies have raised that number to more than 160 million today.”