- FG to Release Implementation Roadmap for Economic Recovery Plan
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, has disclosed that the implementation roadmap for the National Economic Revovery and Growth Plan (NERG) is in the works and would soon be released.
Udoma said the implementation roadmap, which would provide more detailed strategies, timelines and derivables of the plan on a year-by-year basis, is being put together a team of experts who are working with officials of his ministry in collaboration with officials of other ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
Providing more insight on the NERG plan during an interactive session with journalists in Abuja yesterday, the minister said as soon as the roadmap was concluded, it would be uploaded on the website of the ministry of Budget and National Planning.
“The implementation road map is being drawn up by a team of experts who are working with officials of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, together with officials of other MDAs.
“They will be working out a more detailed cost estimate and financing plan with detailed KPIs (key performance indicators) and so on.
“While the Ministry of Budget and Planning will be coordinating the plan, the president has approved that a Special Delivery Unit be created in the presidency to monitor its implementation and remove all bottlenecks to plan implementation.
“Implementation will be coordinated by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning. There are a number of initiatives being put in place to ensure effective implementation,” he said, noting that apart from the implementation roadmap, which is in the works, other initiatives had been enunciated.
According to him, these include a delivery unit being set up in the presidency, and the use of Implementation task-forces, among others.
“These task-forces are to focus on the key execution priorities. The execution priorities are (a) agriculture and food security, (b) energy which includes power and petroleum products sufficiency (c) transportation infrastructure and (d) industrialisation, focusing on small and medium enterprises.
“The task-forces will monitor execution of projects and programmes in the respective sectors and report back. Some of these task-forces may also have representation from the states and the private sector. Already, we have task forces working on rice, power and tomato paste,” the minister stated.
He stressed that active engagement with the private sector was part of the initiatives, adding: “We will be having regular and active engagements with the private sector on a sectoral basis. This will be led by the relevant ministers.
“In particular, the Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry will be meeting with manufacturers to try to replicate the success in the cement industry. The aim will be to seek self-sufficiency, wherever possible, in the basic products that we need and use.
“Our initial concentration will, of course, be in areas where we have the raw materials locally, such as petrochemicals. We will seek to establish what constraints the particular sector has and how government can help to remove the bottlenecks.
“As the NERG plan says, our role as government is to provide the enabling environment.”
On how to ensure the plan did not suffer the fate of previous initiatives by past administrations, Udoma said it was developed through an extensive consultation process, adding that President Muhammadu Buhari has the political will to ensure the success of the NERG plan.
The minister who also spoke about the expansionary budget and the debt implication, said the challenge was getting revenue up.
According to him, a short to medium plan to boost revenue was already on with a committee set to work on that.
He noted that additional revenue would help fast track the NERGP plan implementation as well as the economic recovery process.
The minister listed some of the measures to increase revenue to include targeting increased tax collection without necessarily increasing tax.
He lamented that the nation’s tax to GDP ratio is a paltry 6 per cent while the average is 15 per cent in Africa, noting that plans were on to increase this to about 15 per cent.
Udoma also pointed out that the government was going to insist that all agencies and departments should henceforth present their budgets to the Ministry of Finance for scrutiny as part of overall effort to ensure efficient spending.
The minister allayed fears that NERG plan implementation could be torpedoed by monetary policies, and stressed that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was actively involved in fashioning out the plan.
Udoma added that Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the apex bank would be involved to achieve the targets in the plan.
On the non passage of 2017 budget, the minister said his ministry was working with the National Assembly and encouraging it to pass the budget as soon as possible.
On the problems bedevilling the power sector, the minister stated that a power sector recovery plan was in place, adding that the target was to make all the components of the sector viable.
Udoma noted that a three to five year plan had been put in place to make the component units of the power sector viable.
According to him, about N700 billion was being provided to the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) as an offtaker to ensure that power generated is paid for.
Contributing on the problems bogging the power sector, the Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, said a major setback to the sector was huge government debt, pointing out that this must be sorted out to free the sector.