Osinbajo: We Have Saved N1.4tn by Not Paying Fuel Subsidy

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Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano
The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has disclosed that the federal government has so far saved the sum of N1.4 trillion for not paying oil subsidy.

He also assured Nigerians that very soon, the foreign exchange market would stabilise going by some radical policies already introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The vice president who spoke in Kano yesterday during the third day of the 15th Joint Planning Board and National Council on Development meeting, urged Nigerians to restore confidence in President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, insisting that soonest, the current economic problems would become a thing of the past.

“With the deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector, there has been a significant increase in the availability of petrol throughout the country for the savings of N1.4 trillion on subsidy payments alone,” he said.

“Also, a more flexible exchange rate regime, we will have to decrease the pressure on the external reserve. In the short run of course, there should be consequences for inflation. We expect that with greater priority we have seen in the implementation of the policy by the CBN, the foreign exchange market will stabilise and confidence will be restored.

“The adoption of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015 was intended to place our world on the part of sustainable development by the year 2030. The 17 SDGs, which combined economic, social and environmental objectives, are intended to be universal, unlike the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which were made solely for developing countries.”

“The universal application of the SDGs and their 169 targets show that they are a menu of options, this allows the implementation to take count of different national realities, capacities, policies and priorities.

“In the Nigerian context, some of the issues that must engage our minds will lead to economic diversification, sustained economic growth, eradication of extreme poverty, promoting social inclusion, creating jobs, sparring environmental degradation, including climate change.

“The empirical evidence from across the globe has shown that national strategic planning is very critical for attaining structural transformation and sustainable development. The countries of East Asia have proved this convincingly, even though their development was private-sector driven.

“Strategic plans largely provide direction, coherence and coordination and they are a veritable framework for guiding the activities of all stakeholders towards achieving a common goal, planning specifics such as goals, target and indicators which embodies the SDGs, also enables tracking, monitoring and evaluation.

“The successful implementation of strategic plans and attainment of the SDGs entails partnership, as encapsulated in the 17 objectives which is about the need to create labour partnership in order to attain sustainable development.

“Accordingly, just as the federal government seeks international partnership at the global level with regards to rules and resources, we also seek partnership at the national level. Such domestic partnerships entails working closely with the states which is one of the main reasons for the establishment of the NCPP.

“Other essential partnerships are also built with other sectors of society, especially, the private sector, which is the indisputable engine for growth in successful economies.

“Let me speak briefly about some of the things that the Buhari administration is doing with regard to strengthening short and medium term planning. We have strengthened the link between budgeting and strategic planning by merging the National Planning Commission with the Budget office of the federation.

“We have adopted zero base budgeting, which compels the interrogation of public expenditure at micro levels and allows effective deployment of limited financial resources to areas and sectors with the greatest need.

“We have used the short term strategic implementation plan to guide the 2016 budget; and just yesterday (Wednesday), the Federal Executive Council approved the medium plan expenditure framework and the fiscal strategy paper which are fully consistent with the SDGs and the African unions agenda 2063. These are the priorities of the federal government in the areas of tackling insecurity, combating corruption and growing the economy which would undoubtedly find expression in any medium term plan.

“The same is true for the policy interventions in the strategic implementation plan, notably, with regard to the policy, security and governance, diversification of the economy, power, rail and roads, oil and gas performance, ease of doing business, and social investment. The commitment of the Buhari administration to promote broader micro economic and structural reform; and this is made in our push to mitigate supply-side constraint.”

In his remarks, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, urged the states to complement the federal government’s effort in the area of agriculture and solid minerals development.
He said this was necessary in view of the fact that the country is endowed with arable land for massive production of food.

“The states may wish to target some selected crops for massive production of such commodities.
“They can boost production through the formation of farmers cooperatives for easy access to loan facilities,” he said.

He said the state could also undertake infrastructural development such as roads to ease evacuation of farm produce.

“This will promote economic growth through the creation of job opportunities for the teeming number of unemployed youths in the country,” he said.
He added that the federal government is committed to restructuring of the Bank of Agriculture (BoA) to enable it land a single digit interest rate.

Also speaking, the Kano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje, represented by his Deputy, Professor Hafiz Abubakar, said the state government would collaborate with all the relevant stakeholders for the implementation of the recommendations of the meetings.