President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday unveiled an economic recovery plan for the country . The blueprint is contained in his Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020 .
During the launch of the plan at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Buhari pledged his administration’s commitment to address the country’s economic challenges with the same vigour it is tackling insurgency and corruption in the polity. He also promised adherence to the electoral promises to effect a change in the people’s “way of doing things and to change Nigeria for good.”
This is coming amid citizens’ concerns that the presidency has run since inception on May 29, 2015 without a clear economic blueprint. Although details of the plan are still unknown, it offers hope of surefootedness or some evidence of responsiveness to the issue of the day – lack of economic direction.
The medium-term ERGP, which had been approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), is to restore sustainable as well as accelerated inclusive growth and development. It also aims to invest in the people and build a globally competitive economy.
The president said government was specifically committed to delivering on improved security, tackling corruption and revitalising the economy in line with the campaign promises.
He noted that the economic framework sets out to create an enabling environment for business to thrive, appealing to the state governments to draw inspiration and strategic direction from the plan to articulate their economic programmes, particularly in the development of the real sector.
His words: “Our aim is to optimise local content and empower local businesses. We seek not just to take the Nigerian economy out of recession, but also to place it on a path of sustained, inclusive and diversified growth. We are determined to change Nigeria from an import-dependent country to a producing one.
“We must become a nation where we grow what we eat and consume what we produce. We must strive to have a strong naira and productive economy,” Buhari said. The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, pledged the support of the legislature to making the document work .
Similarly, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, pledged the support of the chamber to follow through with the plan and ensure that it is implemented.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma reiterated that the broad objectives of the ERGP are to restore growth, invest in the people and build a globally competitive economy.
The Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) and chief executive of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, lauded the initiative.Meanwhile, some financial experts have expressed optimism that there would be increased liquidity at the capital market in the second quarter of this year if the plan is quickly implemented.
They said that the sustained economic recovery measures of the Federal Government would impact the market positively this quarter.The Head of Banking and Finance Department, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Dr. Uche Uwaleke, noted that the market would witness enhanced liquidity during the period with the appreciation of the naira, adding that the lower inflation rate and the expected passage of the 2017 budget would also boost fluidity.
To the Head of Research at SCM Capital, Mr. Sewa Wusu, the market outlook appears positive this new quarter with the new economic measures.An economist and Director General, West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM), Prof. Akpan Hogan-Ekpo, urged the government to religiously implement the masterplan.
Also yesterday, the president pledged continued support for the private sector to provide the needed investment in driving economic growth. In a goodwill message to the two-day Kaduna Economic and Investment Summit (KADInvest 2.0), Buhari commended the state for launching the ease of doing business, saying the action reflects the understanding of the responsibilities of the sub-national actors towards the quest for national rebirth.
He said his administration had prioritised the creation of a prosperous economy where talents could thrive, leading to the availability of sustainable jobs and other opportunities for the nation’s teeming youths.The summit was introduced last year by Governor Nasir El-Rufai to make the state a choice investment destination.