Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has launched the Economic and Growth Recovery Plan (ERGP) Focus Laboratories on power, agriculture and manufacturing to fast-track economic growth.
Osinbajo said in Abuja on Tuesday that the newly inaugurated Focus Labs would further boost economic growth and ensure that Nigeria continued its journey of building a competitive economy.
“The labs will operate by bringing together all private and public sector officials to achieve the ERGP’s objective of reaching seven per cent economic growth by 2020.
“The Focus Labs are being conducted in three selected areas to accelerate investment and job creation.
“These specific areas are agriculture and transport, manufacturing and processing and finally power and gas sector,” he said.
Osinbajo explained that the laboratory groups were meant to bring private/public sector participants and potential investors together to think through the implementation of the specific areas of focus.
“We believe that working together as a group, we will be able to achieve these specific objectives that have been set out for us,” Osinbajo said.
Sen. Udo Udoma, Minister of Budget and National Planning, said the government was far from achieving the targets captured in the ERGP.
He said government planned to improve power generation and its operational capacity to 10 Gigawatts by 2020, but two years to the deadline, it had only succeeded in generating four Gigawatts.
Udoma said the Focus Laboratories would eliminate the bottlenecks that hinder private sector investment in the agriculture, manufacturing and power sector.
He said this was important because 245.1 billion dollars was required to implement the ERGP, out of which 195.98 billion dollars was expected from private sector and 49.15 billion dollars from the public sector.
Udoma said the three main objectives of the initiative were to create new investment opportunities for critical projects, job creation and resolution of complex inter-agency problems that inhibited private sector investment.
The highlight of the event was the inauguration of the Central Steering Committee which comprised all ministers, permanent secretaries of Ministries of Budget and National Planning as well as representatives of the Vice-President’s office.
He also inaugurated the Core Working Groups for Agriculture and Transport, manufacturing and processing as well as Power and Gas Supply, headed by their respective ministers.