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Nigeria’s Economic Recovery Plan Targets Food Security, Growth

The Nigerian Government, Tuesday, launched an Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), barely 22 months after President Muhammadu Buhari, took over power from former President Goodluck Jonathan.

The document is a medium-term plan for 2017-2020, aimed at restoration of growth, human capital development, and globally competitive economy.

A statement by the Media Adviser to the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Akpandem James, said the ERGP went through a rigorous process including wide consultation and robust engagements with stakeholders from relevant fields.

The released of the document has put to rest, the fears that the government had no blueprint on how to solve the country’s economy crisis.

Mr. James indicated that experts from the public and private sectors, academia, civil society groups, organised labour and sub-regional governments made inputs into the economic plan.

Others were the international development partners (including the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and African Development Bank), the National Economic Council (NEC) and the National Assembly.

While the ERGP has been approved by the Federal Executive Council, Mr. James said its ceremonial presentation would take place when President Buhari returns from vacation.

The inability of the government to come up with the blueprint was said to stalled the administration’s efforts to secure funds needed to tackle country’s economic problems and restore investors’ confidence.

Achieving Structural Economic Change

“The core vision of the Plan is one of sustained inclusive growth. There is an urgent need as a nation to drive structural economic transformation with an emphasis on improving both public and private sector efficiency.

“The aim is to increase national productivity and achieve sustainable diversification of production, to significantly grow the economy and achieve maximum welfare for the citizens, beginning with food and energy security.

“The Plan envisages that by 2020, Nigeria would have made significant progress towards achieving structural economic change with a more diversified and inclusive economy. Overall, the Plan is expected to deliver on Five key broad outcomes namely: a stable macroeconomic environment, agricultural transformation and food security, sufficiency in energy (power and petroleum products), improved transportation infrastructure and industrialisation focusing on small and medium scale enterprises.

“Realising that the country’s economy would remain on a path of decline if nothing was immediately done to change the trajectory, the present administration, when it assumed office, embarked on strategic moves to halt the trend and redirect the course of the country’s economy and growth process.

A Knowledge-Based Economy

“The process started with the development of the Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) for the 2016 Budget of Change as a short-term intervention. The ERGP, a Medium Term Plan for 2017 – 2020, builds on the SIP and has been developed for the purpose of restoring economic growth while leveraging the ingenuity and resilience of the Nigerian people.

“The Plan seeks to eliminate the bottlenecks that impede innovations and market-based solutions, recognises the need to leverage Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) to build a knowledge-based economy, and is consistent with the aspirations of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“The ERGP differs in several ways from previous strategies and plans as it is anchored on focused implementation which is at the core of the delivery strategy over the next four years; outlines bold initiatives such as ramping up oil production to 2.5mbpd by 2020, privatising selected public enterprises/assets, and revamping local refineries to reduce petroleum product imports by 60 percent by 2018; builds on existing sectoral plans such as the National Industrial Revolution Plan and the Nigeria Integrated Infrastructure Masterplan; signals a changing relationship between the public and private sector based on close partnership.

“It utilises the value of the merger of budget and planning functions into one Ministry to create a better and stronger link between annual budgets and the ERGP and provides for strong coordination with the States to ensure that the Federal and sub-regional governments work towards the same goals.

Vision Of Inclusive Growth

“The thinking behind the development of the Plan was driven by several fundamental principles, including a focus on tackling constraints to growth; leveraging the power of the private sector and promoting national cohesion and social inclusion, as well as allowing markets to function.

“The Plan has three broad strategic objectives which are expected to help achieve the vision of inclusive growth: restoring growth, investing in the people, and building a globally competitive economy.

“The ERGP focuses on achieving macroeconomic stability and economic diversification by undertaking fiscal stimulus, ensuring monetary stability and improving the external balance of trade.

“The delivery mechanism has been identified as a major determining factor in the successful implementation of the Plan. The implementation strategy therefore focuses on prioritising the identified strategies, establishing a clear system of accountability for well-defined assignment of responsibilities, setting targets and developing detailed action plans, allocating resources to prioritised interventions, creating an enabling policy and regulatory environment, developing an effective monitoring and evaluation system to track progress, and using effective communication strategies”.

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