…Predicts end of recession by December
From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Government has declared that delays in the passage of the 2017 Appropriation Bill by the National Assembly may stall the implementation of its Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP)
This is even as it attempts to tie exiting country recession by end of the year to early passage of the budget as well as the full implementation of the economic recovery growth plan expected to be launched soon.
Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, made the declaration while briefing State House Correspondents on the outcome of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting chaired by Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo.
President Muhammadu Buhari had presented N7.3 trillion budget estimate to the National Assembly last December with various Ministries Department and Agencies (MDAs) of government defending their individual budget proposals since then.
Nigeria’s government only on Tuesday released its economic growth and recovery plan with which it plans to pull the country out of recession after postponing its release several times.
The growth plan which targets to restore the economy through sustained GDP growth between 2017 to 2020, seeks to grossly reduce inflation rate from an all-time high of 19 percent to a single digit.
It also targets to restore growth by ensuring the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) improves significantly to 2.19 percent in 2017, and seven per cent at the end of 2020 largely through agriculture.
The new plan also aims to boost the power situation in Nigeria with 10 GW of operational capacity by 2020 as well improve the energy mix, to include greater use of renewable energy. It is also projecting that the country will become a net exporter of refined petroleum products by 2020, amongst other things.
Udoma, who briefed alongside the Ministers of Information, Culture and Tourism, Lai Mohammed and Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mohammed Bello, explained that most of the initiatives to get the country out of recession have been outlined in the economic recovery plan for this year.
Udoma said he had briefed cabinet on the recently released National Bureau of Statistics 3rd Quarter GDP Report and the full report on 2016 as well as the release of the Economic Recovery Growth Plan which is already on the website of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning as well as the Budget Office, noting that the government was working hard to ensure it gets the country out of recession this year.
“We look forward to the early passage of the 2017 budget so that we can fast-track the implementation of the plan. As you know the plan fell into the 2017 budget. So many of the initiatives in the plan are reflected in the budget” Udoma said.
Asked if the plans can ensure economic recovery by 2020, Udoma replied, “With regard to the things we plan to do in the next three four years, they are spelt out in details in the economy recovery growth plan. It involves a number of things but the key is get this economy competitive so that we can diversify. We want to do two broad things, one is to restore oil production and harvest what we can get from that sector but diversify by making the economy competitive so we would grow our agriculture, manufacturing, we will have value added in Nigeria and move from a consuming to producing nation, that is the trust. We believe we have the will and determination to achieve it”.
On the likelihood of the exiting the country recession by the end of this year, he replied, “Yes, we are determine to get the economy out of the recession before the end of this year. And the 2017 budget is structured to do just that. So that is why we are anxious to get the budget passed so that we can begin the implementation and begin to take all the steps we need to get the economy out of recession”.