By Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The federal government is to float a $300 million Diaspora Bond as part of measures to galvanise the buy-in of foreign-based Nigerians into the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), the Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu, has said.
The ERGP is a four-year (2017-2020) medium-term roadmap for Nigeria’s economic recovery, growth and sustainable development.
The Plan envisages that by 2020, Nigeria would have made significant progress towards achieving structural economic changes with a more diversified and inclusive economy.
Overall, the ERGP is expected to deliver on five key broad outcomes comprising a stable macroeconomic environment, agricultural transformation and food security, sufficiency in energy (power and petroleum products), improved transportation infrastructure, and industrialisation focusing on small and medium scale enterprises.
Dipeolu, who spoke at a presidential economic communications workshop for finance/economy correspondents and editors in Abuja at the weekend, said the Diaspora Bond was being conceptualised to make Nigerians resident outside the country contribute to the country’s growth and recovery.
The National Assembly has already approved the Diaspora Bond.
The theme of the workshop, organised by the Office of the Vice-President in collaboration with the Bank of Industry (BoI) was “Economic Recovery and Growth”.
The presidential aide, who was responding to questions at the workshop, said the bond was being conceptualised and would be floated when all the necessary requirements have been put in place.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun had in January declared that Nigerians in the Diaspora, who were desirous of investing in the $300 million bond, would have the privilege of doing so in March, when it would be rolled out.
According to her, the Diaspora Bond would follow on the completion of the Eurobond, which was issued last month.
Dipeolu, who took time to explain what the ERGP is all about, said it was anchored on the 2016 Strategic Implementation Programme (SIP) and not designed to have a kind of command structure at the centre.
According to him, the plan was designed to be a guide and signalling tool on the direction the economy should go with all the stakeholders at all levels expected to buy in.
He noted that a major attribute of the ERGP was its inclusiveness, noting that every strata of the country would be impacted through its implementation, citing the School Feeding Programme and Conditional Cash Transfer, among others as pointers.
Dipeolu said the feeding programme would positively impact the lives of farmers, who produce food, transporters, cooks and others in the value chain.
The presidential adviser also noted that the N-Power programme had already drawn over 200,000 graduates as beneficiaries.
Dipeolu also stated that some sectors that would trigger economic expansion this year included road construction, railway and the Family Home Scheme.
Progress, he pointed out, was being made in road construction, citing the Lagos-Ibadan expressway as well as the rail sector, including the Idu (Abuja) and Kaduna rail link.
He expressed optimism that when the activities are galvanised in a holistic manner, the positive impact of the ERGP would be appreciated in no distant time.
But he advised that the country should get back to treating national development plans as a priority.
Dipeolu said while emphasis on timelines for ERGP programmes was good, these timelines were not an end in themselves.
According to him, the national development plans of the 60s and 70s had timelines, asking rhetorically: “But did they achieve their objectives?”