Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The federal government said on Monday that it would today inaugurateÂ what it termed Joint Working Group for the Economic Recovery and Growth PlanÂ (ERGP)Â Focus Labs in the State House, Abuja to boost economic growth.
A statement by Vice President Yemi Osinbajoâ€™s spokesman, Mr. Laolu Akande, said the establishment of the Focus Labs was conceived toÂ create jobs and ensure Nigeria continues its journey of building a competitive economy.
According to him, the objectives of ERGP include: eradicating corruption in government procurement and processes, prudent management of resources, social inclusion, overcoming power constraints and dearth of skills, and promotion of private sector inclusion.
Akande said in less than one year of the launch of ERGP, its implementation has launched the country into significant economic strides, including its exit from recession last year and improved stability in the fiscal and monetary markets.
â€œAlso, in last yearâ€™sÂ World Bank Doing Business index, Nigeria jumped 24 places and was listed among the 10 most reforming economies globally, feats that have attracted wide applause and commendation for the economic policies of the Buhari administration.
â€œIn line with the administrationâ€™s economic focus and direction, which includes restoring growth and building a competitive economy,Â theÂ ERGP Focus Labs are aimed at driving new investments that would createÂ hundreds of thousands of jobs for Nigerians across the 36 states of the federation and, in theÂ long-term, continue to grow the economy.
â€œA Central Steering Committee and Joint Working Group of theÂ ERGPÂ Focus Labs will be formed comprising nine ministers in Agriculture, Transport, Solid Minerals, Industry Trade and investment, Power Works andÂ Housing, Petroleum Resources, Finance, Justice and of course Budget and National Planning,â€ the statement said.
The statement added that the responsibilities of the Central Steering Committee of the government would include steering the labs and ensuring active collaboration with the private sector to remove inhibitions that may have impeded some of the priority investment projects that have been stalled for too long.
It also said the Joint Working Group would comprise senior public officers from the six aforementioned pilot ministries, and their agencies with the mandate of working with the senior special assistants to the president on the implementation of ERGP to plan the labs successfully and address the inter-agency bottlenecks that the investors will bring to the labs.
It listed other tasks of members of the core sector teams in the group to include: generation and validation of sector data, provision of sector specific information and context, provision of technical perspective and government policy position.
â€œThe Working Group would also be tasked withÂ making decisions on behalf of the government that promotes investment and national interest, build Institutional memory, strengthen Institutional capacity, and encourage institutional ownership,â€ the statement added.