By Emmanuel Elebeke
ABUJA – The Federal Government said, yesterday, it required $245 billion to fund Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, implementation over four-year period.
Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, disclosed this during a presentation on ERGP Focus Labs at the inauguration of the Core Teams at State House, Abuja.
He said the amount was needed to sustain the momentum of the gains so far made from the ERGP, which recorded 1.40 per cent growth in GDP, 4GW electricity increase, climbing to 145 position in the ease of doing business in the Q3 of 2017.
He explained that the needed fund was expected to come in a 4:1 ratio between the private sector investments of $195.98 billion to government investment of $49.15 billion.
According to him, the objective is to achieve seven per cent GDP growth; 10 GW electricity increase and attaining 100 position in the ease of doing business by 2020.
He said the Focus Labs were being conducted in three selected areas of Agriculture and Transportation; Manufacturing and Processing Power and Gas Supply to accelerate investments and job creation.
He also said the Labs would come with six priority sectors; five execution priorities and 15 million jobs to be created and 60 strategies across 80+ MDAs and state governments.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari in April 2017, launched the ERGP with the key execution priorities of building a resilient economy.
Since the launch, government said, the nation’s real GDP growth rate has turned positive since Q2 of 2017 indicating the economy’s exit from recession.
The Labs according to the minister will be executed in three phases: Pre-Lab: Jan. 15 – March 4, 2018; Main Lab: March 5 – April 15, 2018 and Post Lab: April 16 – May 13, 2018.
The Focus Labs have three main objectives: New investments for critical projects; Job creation and resolution of complex inter-agency problems that inhibit private sector investment.
Inaugurating the Core Team, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, said the private sector was key to realisation of the objective.
While emphasizing the significance of the private sector, Osinbajo said the Federal Government was courting the private sector to bring in the resources required to drive the initiative.
He said: “This occasion is timely and according to the plan, the unique point of our four year economic growth plan. It comes with an implementation strategy and a device which has been described as laboratories.”
“The private sector is key to the realization of the sect objectives. In some senses, we are courting and wooing the private sector because they have the resources to ensure what we set for ourselves is achieved. They are significant to the achievement of the ERGP and the cusses of these labs.
“The administration recognize the fact that they ought to be the driver of these sectors, mobilizing and deploying the resources required to deliver growth and prosperity and the role of government should essentially be to create the environment for private sector to thrive. I am pleased to note that the labs have been designed to function on that principle. We are really committed to this course.”
Continuing, he said: “These laboratory is meant to bring together from public and private sector potential investors to think through these specific implementation areas of focus.
“This is the first stage of the main launch of the labs themselves which will be in March. The ultimate objective is to stimulate investment that would steer the momentum needed by the Nigerian economy to achieve the objectives we have set for the growth plan.”
He urged the committee members to see their assignment as central and listen to what the private sector is saying to accommodate their opinion.
“Their task is steering the labs operation with the private sector. It also comprises senior government officials require the private sector expertise to be able to drive the three labs,” he said. The Vice President further re-affirmed the commitment of federal government to the initiative.
Responding on behalf of the committee, the minister of Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelama
also affirmed the importance of the private sector and urged the committee to accept responsibility before embarking on the journey of implementing the ERGP.
He also urged members of the committee to adopt and work with a positive mind set to get result, assuring that the committee would work together towards realizing the set objectives.
The Central Working committee comprises nine ministers. They includes: ministers of transport; agriculture, industry Trade and |Investment; Power, Works and Housing, Petroleum, Finance, Justice and Budget and National Planning.