Launches Focus Labs for ERGP
Our target, by Udoma
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA—PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, said his administration was working hard to attain the target of moving Nigeria up in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings by 2020.
President Buhari, who stated this at the launch of Focus Labs for the nation’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said the government was planning to build upon the success of the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative to double the 500,000 metric tons of fertiliser delivered to states, agro-dealers and farmers in 2017, by achieving production output of one million metric tons this year.
This is even as Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, said government was targeting to mobilise at least $25 billion or its equivalent in naira in private investments.
President Buhari in his speech, said the Labs being flagged off constituted one of the many strategies his administration was taking to ensure that the ERGP was effectively implemented.
According to him, the key goals in the ERGP are on achieving sustainable, diversified and inclusive growth, becoming self-sufficient in basic commodities to curtail our food imports, diversifying the nation’s economic base from crude oil dependence, empowering local businesses to create thousands of jobs and improving the general well being of the people.
He said: “Focus Labs have been successfully used in other countries. The Labs in Nigeria are designed as closed-door investment platforms to identify and accelerate high-impact projects with significant impact on GDP and job creation.
“In the past 10 months, we have achieved several noteworthy milestones. As you are aware, economic growth returned in second quarter of 2017 due to a clear follow-through of some of the economic initiatives we set out to implement. Since then, we have consolidated on the recovery path reaching a Real GDP growth of 1.92% by the fourth quarter of 2017.
“We have also restored stability in foreign exchange market and have recorded improvements in our foreign reserves which have grown from 24 billion US dollars in September 2016 to 42 billion US dollars by mid-February 2018 and now 46 billion US dollars. This has been achieved partially because of the recovery of oil prices on the international market.
“We remain committed to working hard to attain our target of moving up in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings by 2020.”
Our target, by Udoma
Speaking at the launch, Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma, said: “We are targeting to mobilise at least $25 billion or its equivalent in naira, in private investments and about 240 projects have so far been screened for the labs. Many have asked whether we are not being too ambitious in targeting $25 billion.
“My answer is that we have no choice. We actually need multiplies of $25 billion or its equivalent in naira, of new investments to create enough jobs to address the high unemployment rate in the country.”