The Federal Government, yesterday, stated that it has committed N46 billion as capital provisions in the 2017 budget as medium term plan through the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), to the development of special economic zones in the country’s six geo-political zones, to drive manufacturing and exports.
Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, Minister Ministry of Budget and National Planning, who was the guest speaker at the Annual General Meeting and 60th anniversary of the Nigerian Employers Consultative Association (NECA), made the disclosure in Lagos Udoma, in his keynote address with the theme: ‘The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan’, noted that recovery plan of the Federal Government is to change Nigeria from a nation of consumers to that of producers.
According to Budget and National Planning Minister, “as Mr. President has said, the ERGP is this administration’s blueprint aimed at building a new Nigeria where “we grow what we eat, consume what we make and produce what we use”.
Udoma, who argued that government is determined to fundamentally change the way Nigeria has been operating as a nation, also said: “N6 billion would be spent for the revival of the Export-Expansion Grant in the form of tax credits; N15 billion to re-position our development finance institutions, namely the Bank of Industry and the Bank of Agriculture, to support Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs)”
Besides, “N500 billion would go into Social Intervention Programmes; N148 billion for counterpart funding for various railway modernisation projects; Over 65 roads & bridges construction and rehabilitation projects across the six geo-political zones of the country; N40 billion service-wide provision to settle reconciled outstanding electricity bills of FGN institutions as part of the strategy to revamp the ailing power sector”.
On the ambitious targets of the ERGP, he added: “The Federal Government has a medium term plan between 2017 to 2020 to achieve an average Real GDP growth of 4.6 per cent over the plan period, with seven per cent growth rate by the year 2020; manufacturing sector average growth of 8.5 per cent, peaking at 10.6 per cent by 2020; and agricultural sector average growth of 6.9 per cent over the plan period.
Also, “self-sufficiency in rice and wheat would be achieved in 2018 and 2020 respectively; at least 10 GW of operational electricity capacity by 2020; the creation of 15 million new jobs by 2020; reduction in unemployment rate from 13.9 per cent in Q3 2016 to 11.23 per cent by 2020; 60 per cent reduction in imports of refined petroleum products by 2018 and net exporter of refined crude by the year 2020.
“Indeed, many of the capital projects in the 2017 Budget will be in the form of Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects. An example is the Bodo – Bonny Road, which is a joint venture with Bonny LNG Ltd, for which we have voted the sum N7 billion.
“Another is the provision we have made for the sum of N9 billion as Government’s contribution to a joint venture with the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority and other private sector participants for a programme to reverse medical tourism by upgrading and equipping high quality medical centres in various geo-political zones of the country.
“We have also set aside the sum of N100bn as Government’s contribution for a new social housing fund which is private sector led. The target is to raise up to N1 trillion for this Fund. All these are clear indications that we welcome, as indicated in the ERGP, private sector participation in all sectors of the country”.
He, however, said that “our aim is to change Nigeria from a nation with high import dependence to one that makes the products it consumes; from a nation that relies on a single commodity for survival to one that runs on multiple engines of growth, such as agriculture, manufacturing, construction, solid minerals and services.”
Earlier, Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, called on the organised private sector and the workers to support the Federal Government to make the ease of doing business in the country to succeed through a peaceful industrial harmony.
Source : Independent
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