By Adebisi Adeyemi Lagos, Nigeria.
The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) which unveils a road map for Nigeria’s economic recovery, growth and sustainable development has been released. It is available on both the Ministry of Budget and National Planning website (www.nationalplanning.gov.ng) and that of the Budget Office (www.budgetoffice.gov.ng).
The development of the plan went through a rigorous process including wide consultation and robust engagements with stakeholders from a range of relevant fields including economic experts from the public and private sectors, in academia, the Organized Private Sector, Civil Society groups, Organized Labour, sub-regional governments, International Development Partners (including the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and African Development Bank), the National Economic Council (NEC) and the National Assembly. The Plan has been approved by the Federal Executive Council.
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 5 key broad outcomes, namely: a stable macroeconomic environment, agricultural transformation and food security, sufficiency in energy (power and petroleum products), improved transportation infrastructure and industrialization 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.
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, recognizes the need to leverage Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) to build a knowledge-based economy, and is consistent with the aspirations of the U.N.’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, privatizing 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 Master-plan;
• signals a changing relationship between the public and private sector based on close partnership.
• utilizes 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.
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 prioritizing 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 prioritized interventions, creating an enabling policy and regulatory environment, developing an effective monitoring and evaluation system to track progress, and using effective communication strategies.
The ceremonial presentation of the Plan will take place after His Excellency, President Mohammadu Buhari, returns from vacation.