Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The federal government disclosed Tuesday that the Focus Labs of its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) identified 164 projects spread across the six geopolitical zones of the country with a total potential investment of US$22.5 billion.
The investments, it stated, are capable of creating 513,981 jobs by 2020, pointing out that of the of US$22.5 billionpotential investment, US$10.9 billion worth of private investments are categorised as ‘most ready’ to go.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, who spoke in Abuja at the ‘Open Day’ for ERGP Focus Labs, said that “specifically, disaggregating with respect to each of the work-stream, US$4.73 billion worth of investment have been identified in the agriculture and transport labs, with a potential to create 129,00 jobs,” while US$9.25 billion investments with a potential of 378,000 new jobs were identified in the manufacturing and processing labs.
According to him, US$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 US$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 access to foreign funding worth $500 million to a company known as ‘Our Collective’ 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, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo assured that the ERGP, unlike 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 assured that the bottlenecks will be addressed as a monthly progress report will now be made available to him, adding: “our aim is to make focus labs a success.”
Focus Labs are designed as a workshop-style closed-door investment fora between private sector 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.