Barring any unforeseen development, the Federal Government will this week unfold its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), which is expected to outline how the country will get out of recession and attain stability and growth. Competent Government sources confirmed to Vanguard last night that the long awaited economic plan, which was worked out by financial and economic experts in collaboration with the Ministry of Budget and National Planning and the Ministry of Finance, was ready and would be made public any time this week.
One of the sources, who described the ERGP as optimistic, said that President Muhammadu Buhari was expected to formally launch the document after it had been made public to show to doubting Nigerians that the present administration has been working round the clock to put things right in the overall interest of the nation.
“It is very likely that the ERGP will be posted on relevant government website on Tuesday this week and after that it will be formally launched by the President so that Nigerians can appreciate the work that has been done for them by the present administration,” one of the sources related to the work plan, said last night.
In the meantime, the Minister for Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, has hinted that the ERGP will be driven by Science, Technology and Innovation, with the youths being targeted to deliver its success.
Senator Udoma, who made the disclosure while playing host to the Country Representative of UNICEF, Mr Mohammed Malick Fall, in Abuja at the weekend, said government was working strategically to address the economic challenges of the country with appropriate attention focused on young people, who are the source of the country’s economic strength. He said the ERGP, the country’s medium term plan was tailored in such a way that it will be driven largely by ideas and innovation, two areas in which young people have comparative advantage, particularly in high-tech perspectives that will urgently transform the economy.
He said the ERGP which has been concluded is expected to deliver on five 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. The Plan envisages that by 2020, Nigeria would have made significant progress towards achieving structural economic change with a more diversified and inclusive economy.
The Minister told the UNICEF delegation that the Federal Government was ever ready to collaborate and partner with development agencies that are in the country to assist in beneficial development programmes. While acknowledging UNICEF’s assistance efforts, particularly in the areas of Health, Water, Sanitation and Youth Development, Senator Udoma encouraged the organization to always collaborate with his Ministry in its project plans to avoid overlaps with the efforts of other multilateral agencies and donor partners; and duplication of provisions in the country’s development plans.
UNICEF Country Representative, Mr Fall, said the organization would continue to engage with government on technical issues and as well as make available experiences from different parts of the world towards tackling challenges that fall within its assistance mandate areas. He pointed out that policy dialogue, best practices, and experiences from other parts of the world have a better chance of solving challenges than the level of donor funding.
The Representative said UNICEF is more particular about water and sanitation challenges in its current approach to dealing with health matters because no matter the amount of focus on Health, if these two areas are not properly addressed, all the efforts would be worthless He agreed to collaborate with the Ministry to ensure that there is an alignment of efforts in executing the agencies programmes for the benefit of the people.