By Emmanuel Mogbede
Nigeria will come out of the economic recession before the end of 2017, Mr Udoma Udo Udoma, Budget and National Planning Minister, has reassured Nigerians.
He told journalists after briefing members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of All Progressives Congress (APC) on the implementation of the 2017-2020 Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
He reiterated that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration inherited an economy that was in bad shape.
He cited insecurity, massive corruption, unemployment, poor infrastructure, import dependent economy and other structural weaknesses, as issues synonymous with the immediate past administration.
“APC promised to bring change to Nigerians; during the campaign, President Buhari promised to tackle the security challenges, fight corruption and fix the broken economy.
“Mr President has remained irrevocably committed to delivering on these three promises,“ the minister said.
He said that the medium-term plan for 2017-2020 was developed after an extensive consultative process.
He added that the plan was built on previous sectoral plans, adding that it captured key promises of the APC administration.
According to the minister, the ERGP contains bold actions that are required to tackle the current challenges and build a resilient economy for the country.
He explained that the plan was designed to get the economy out of recession unto a path of diversified, sustainable and inclusive growth.
The minister said the ERGP’s outlook and major deliverables include 4.6 per cent average real GDP growth rate over the plan period reaching 7 per cent by 2020.
He said that over 15 million direct jobs would be created by 2020 in agriculture, manufacturing, and construction among other sectors.
Udoma said that Nigeria would attain self-sufficiency in rice and wheat production in 2018 and 2020 respectively.
He said that there would be 60 per cent reduction in imports of refined petroleum products by 2018 and net exporter of refined crude by 2020.
The minister said that in the implementation of the ERGP, much of the capital provision in the 2017 budget was directed at projects that were aligned with its core execution priorities.
He solicited the support of the leadership of the APC to ensure delivery of the objectives of the plan, starting with the 2017 budget.
“Implementation of the 2017 budget will be targeted at achieving the objectives of the ERGP and delivering on the promises of the APC and of Mr President.
“As a ministry, we will continue strengthening our monitoring and evaluation framework covering physical inspection and verification as well as Impact Assessment of projects and programme implemented by MDAs,“ the minister said.
Udoma said that the ERGP was a plan for all Nigerians, stressing that the cooperation of all was critical to ensure its success.
Earlier, the APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, noted that the 2017-2020 Economic Recovery and Growth Plan was fundamental in rebuilding and strengthening the foundation of the economy.
“The plan is fundamental because it is the basis for which the rebuilding and strengthening of the foundation of this nation is going to be based.
“As a party, when we speak on the state of the economy, it must be based on knowledge and fact.
“With this presentation, we will be able to say that three years from now, everything being equal, this is where we are likely to be,“ Odigie-Oyegun said.
He said that the minister was invited to update members of the APC leadership on the economic situation and when it would come out of recession.
He maintained that the interaction would enable the party`s leadership talk to Nigerians authoritatively on the country`s economy, while giving them first hand information.
“The presentation is fundamental as it is the planning background, it is the basis on which the rebuilding, restructuring and strengthening of this country is going to be based, “ he said. (NAN)