Ahead of the official launching of the National Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (NERGP) for 2017-2020, top officials of the Federal Government on Thursday met with the Commissioners of Budget and Economic Development and Permanent Secretaries of related departments in states of the federation to get their inputs into the proposed four years national economic road map.
The gathering was an initiative of the Federal Government to harvest inputs from all segments of the country to produce an all-inclusive development plan that would pull the economy out of recession and set it on the path to sustainable growth and development.
In the last three weeks, the Federal Government had consulted with economic experts, private sector operators, academics and other stakeholders, which generated very insightful perspectives and ideas on issues to consider in the plan. The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, while addressing the opening session of the State Commissioners Round-table on Thursday, said their inputs were necessary because of the critical role that the states played in the Nigerian economy.
A statement from the Media Adviser to the minister, Mr. Akpandem James, quoted Udoma to have said that the recovery plan became imperative because of the current state of the economy. The minister said the current recession reflected inherent structural issues in the country economy, the current manifestation of which began in mid-2014 when the global prices of oil crashed.
He added that the Federal Government had taken steps in the 2016 budget to proactively address the challenges with policies designed to reflate the economy. Udoma said, The proposed initiatives prescribed by the plan should address our poor competitiveness, improve the business environment and attract investment in infrastructure, especially power, roads, rail and ports. We desire a plan that is realistic and will achieve the desired results. Your views are certainly invaluable in this regard.
The NERGP is expected to build on the existing SIP, which was an interim plan developed in April this year. President Muhammadu Buhari had, in his Foreword to the SIP, promised Nigerians that a fuller and more comprehensive medium-term plan will be prepared by the end of 2016. The NERGP is intended to fulfill the dual goal of identifying short-term recovery initiatives and also presenting a medium-term plan.