From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), alongside Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), held a retreat at the State House Conference Centre, Abuja, over the implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and the 2018 budget preparation process.
The retreat was themed, “Building Synergy for Effective ERPG Implementation”.
President Muhammadu Buhari launched the ERGP in April with an expectation that it will bring the country out of economic recession.
The FEC on Wednesday approved the 2018-2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) with plans already on to meet the October deadline of submitting the budget to the National Assembly.
Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, had told State House Correspondents at the post-FEC briefing on Wednesday that the MTEF targets an economic growth rate of 3.5 per cent by 2018 and 4.5 per cent by 2019 and 7 per cent by 2020.
Speaking on the essence of the retreat, Udoma said, “it was basically about the ERGP and preparations for the 2018 budget and linking the plan with the budget and we will be briefing cabinet members about the linkages between the plan and the budget. We have to keep on reviewing at every stage, so this is review about where we are, what needs to be done and what steps we need to take in areas we need to fast rack. We need to review what we are doing at the stage of implementation. So this was the purpose of the meeting.”
On where the nation was after the review, he said, “we are moving ahead in terms of the modalities that have been defined. This is not the time to actually say what stage and so on. We will be giving briefings.”
On when the MTEFF will be sent to the National Assembly, he said, “National Assembly is on break and will resume in September but ours is to follow the fiscal responsibility act, which has some timelines and we are trying to keep strictly by those timelines.
“So the budget will get to the National Assembly by October; that was our commitment. We will go all out to make that happen; we made a commitment that we will do that on our part and we intend to deliver on that commitment. This is a government that delivers on its promises.”