By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor
The economy will be significantly better in 2018, going by the consistent positive trend of key indicators since the country emerged from recession in the second quarter of last year, Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, has predicted.
Senator Udoma, who spoke at the 2018 Economic Outlook Forum of Kings Court Parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Lagos, weekend, said the positive sentiments were also shared by most international and local rating agencies, which support the view that the economy was poised to grow rapidly in 2018.
He indicated that the expected growth would create opportunities for investments in areas of agriculture and agro-processing, industry, mining, construction and services.
He assured that government was determined to lead in that effort and appealed to the private sector to respond to the various initiatives which the government had been rolling out.
Udoma said: “There is no doubt that more work needs to be done and we all must work together to achieve sustainable results”.
The minister said the ERGP was designed to tackle constraints to growth, leverage the power of the private sector, promote national cohesion and social inclusion, allow markets to function and uphold our core values.
The broad objectives of the plan, he explained, included restoring and sustaining growth, building a competitive economy and investing in our people.
The main focus of the plan, he explained further, is to stabilise the macroeconomic environment, achieve agriculture and food security, improve transportation infrastructure, ensure energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products and drive industrialization focusing on SMEs.
He was happy to report that since the ERGP was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari early last year, the implementation of its programmes and policies had propelled the economy out of recession and back on to a growth trajectory.
He alluded to the report of the National Bureau of Statistics report, which shows that the economy has been making gradual but steady gains as the GDP growth rate had risen to 1.40 per cent by the third quarter of 2017, just as agriculture had grown by 3.06 per cent and industry by 8.83 per cent within the same period.