Femi Ogbonnikan in Abeokuta
The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has identified weak implementation as the bane of the previous economic plans, while he enjoined state governors to work together as one and promote the good governance as an enabler for the speedy economic growth of the country.
While delivering his address yesterday at the closing ceremony of the 17th Joint Planning Board (JPB) and National Council on Development Planning (NCDP) with the theme: “Accelerating the implementation of the economic recovery and growth plan: the role of stakeholders”, held in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, Osinbajo said the synergy among the governors would enhance the speedy economy growth of the country.
The vice president, who was represented by the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, stated that the current administration has restored stability in the economy through various economic approaches.
He said the most critical economic discourse at a meeting should revolve around the collective efforts and responsibilities that are required in accelerating the pace of the country’s economic progress.
According to him, the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of the present administration is quite different from other plans introduced by previous administrations because it contains clearly defined objectives, priorities and targets that have encouraged the current determination to ensure sustained implementations of the plan.
Osinbajo pointed out that historic lessons from Nigeria’s strategic planning over the years have singled out weak implementation, or even lack of implementation, as the bane of previous economic plans.
“As a government, we have chosen to do things differently by bringing in the needed political will at the highest level towards a sustained implementation of the ERGP.
“The president gave this signal when he saw the urgent need of merging the Budget Office of the Federation with the erstwhile National Planning Commission to create the Ministry of Budget and National Planning. That singular action has enabled the various initiatives outlined in the ERGP to feed into our annual budgets. With the zero-based budgeting systems that we have adopted, our budgets have now become more policy oriented and development focused. Available resources are being judiciously utilised and programmes and projects prioritized to ensure rapid transformation of our country.
“We will provide the right infrastructure, open up the space for private investment, diversify the economy away from crude oil dependence, and more importantly, invest in our people and give them a better life”, said the Vice President.
Osinbajo stated that the macro – economic indices have been improving which has ultimately restored stability in the foreign exchange market.
“Inflation rate has witnessed a decline for the 18th consecutive month since December 2016. Quite significant reforms have been introduced to improve the business climate that has pushed up our global ranking from 169 to 145. With confidence returning, we have experienced advice investment inflows into the country in the last one year, and our GDP growth has turned positive.
“In addition, we are proud of the successes recorded in the agricultural sector. The revitalisation of our fertiliser blending plants alone has saved the country over $200 million annually in foreign exchange and over N60 billion in budgetary provisions for fertiliser subsidies. This has also made it possible to purchase fertiliser at prices up to 30 percent cheaper than previously available.
“Furthermore, I am aware that the National Committee on Export Pomotuin is implementing a plan to enhance export promotion and economic diversification in line with the zero oil plan (ZOP) initiative. We have equally budgeted N44.2 billon in the 2018 budget for the establishment of Special Economic Zones in the country’s six geo-political zones to drive local manufacturing and exports.
“I believe strongly that to accelerate implementation of the ERGP and deliver on its target of seven percent GDP growth by 2020 and we surely need massive amounts of private investment. And that underscores the significance of the ERGP focus labs”, Osinbajo said.
In his own address, Udoma, noted that the federal government is committed to implementing the various strategies set out in the plan, to address the five execution priorities of macro – economic stabilisation, agriculture and food security.
He said that with the faithful implementation of the plan, the country would be able to deliver a resilient and more prosperous economy where “we grow what we eat and consume what we make”.