By Franklin Alli
THE Federal Government has set average growth rate target of 8.5 per cent to 10.6 per cent for the manufacturing sector over the next four years under the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP.
Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma, disclosed this while addressing industrialists during the 60th annual general meeting of Nigeria Employers Consultative Association, NECA.
In a presentation on the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, Udoma stated, “The ERGP is driven by five principles which support this fundamental focus. The five principles are: removing the constraints to growth, particularly supply constraints in fuel, power and foreign exchange; allowing the market to function to drive optimal behaviour among market participants; leveraging the power of the private sector by harnessing the dynamism of business and entrepreneurial nature of Nigerians, from Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises to the large domestic and multinational corporations.”
To achieve the objectives of the Plan, Udoma called on the chieftains of the Organised Private Sector, OPS, to actively participate in the implementation of the plan. He said,“It is government’s blueprint to accelerate the pace of the country’s industrialisation, particularly by encouraging the growth of SMEs.”
Also speaking, Mr. Larry Ettah, NECA President, lauded government for the series of interventions so far to improve business environment in the country. According to him, to further enthrone an enabling environment supportive of sustainable and competitive enterprises, government should prevail on the monetary authority to overhaul the current fixed exchange rate regime to allow market forces to determine the value of the Naira.
“Though it seemed lately to have provided some reprieve for the value of the local currency, it is doubtful if this is sustainable in the long term. Evidence from other economies are clear and compelling to the effect that floating exchange rate systems enable economies respond best to declines in the value of their exports and provide a natural adjustment mechanism to preserve foreign exchange reserves and change incentives and behaviour of economic actors. This is the reason we are convinced that the way to go is to allow market forces to determine the value of the Naira and consequently abolishing the multiple rates,” he said.