Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The federal government disclosed Tuesday that the Focus Labs of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) identified 164 projects spread across the six geopolitical zones of the country with a total potential investment of $22.5 billion.
The investments, it stated, are capable of creating 513,981 jobs by 2020, pointing out that of the $22.5 billion potential investments, $10.9 billion worth of private investments are categorised as â€˜most readyâ€™ to go.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, who spoke in Abuja at the â€˜Open Dayâ€™ for ERGP Focus Labs, said that “specifically, disaggregating with respect to each of the work-stream, US$4.73 billion worth of investments have been identified in the agriculture and transport labs, with a potential to create 129,00 jobs,” while $9.25 billion investments with a potential of 378,000 new jobs were identified in the manufacturing and processing labs.
According to him, $8.7 billion worth of investments will come from the power and gas sector with the potential of creating up to 7,000 jobs.
Udoma explained that the 164 identified investment projects in the labs will extend beyond 2020, adding that by projection, the cumulative investment value of the identified projects could rise to up to $39.12 billion by 2025 and about 716,079 jobs created.
The minister, who revealed the quick-wins achieved during the labs with early successes across all work-streams, listed some of them as the networking between Senga Farms and Autodex Ltd, land allocation to the Nigerian Shippers Council by the Sokoto State government as well as the facilitation of a company known as â€˜Our Collectiveâ€™ to access foreign funding worth $500 million by the Ministry of Transportation.
With regard to the projects identified in the labs, Udoma stated that the government had assisted the promoters to develop detailed implementation plans for each of the projects
Declaring the event open, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo assured the audience that the ERGP other initiatives of previous administrations, would be sustained, adding that it is supported by the highest resolve achieve success.
Osinbajo noted that through the Focus Labs programmes, the federal government is now clearer on how to eliminate bureaucratic bottlenecks that had torpedoed ease of doing business in the country.
He said that the bottlenecks will be addressed, as a monthly progress report will now be made available to him, adding: â€œOur aim is to make focus labs a success.â€
Focus Labs are designed as a workshop-style closed-door investment for a between private sector players and senior government officials, and serve as avenues for detailed discussions and interactions to address some of the bottlenecks and inhibitors of additional business investments in the economy.
The first phase of labs took place over a six-week period in Abuja between March 12 and April 22,, 2018, and were focused on six core sectors, including agriculture and transportation, power and gas, manufacturing and processing (including solid minerals).
The â€˜Open Dayâ€™ was an opportunity to present the outcomes of these initial labs and elicit feedback from the public.