Monday, February 6, 2017 7:11 pm
VP Osinbajo speaking during the Public Consultative Forum on the Nigeria Economic Recovery and Growth Plan at the State House in Abuja.
The Federal Government says it is aware of the economic difficulties Nigerians are experiencing and is committed to putting the economy on the path of sustainable growth.
The Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, stated this in Abuja on Monday where he opened a dialogue with private sector stakeholders on the administration’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
Alluding to the many protests against the harsh economic situation in the country, being planned by Nigerians, Osinbajo said it was the duty of the government to cater for the ordinary man.
“I would like to say to every Nigerian that we hear you loud and clear.
“The government is one that is determined to give the ordinary man a fair deal.
“You have the right to live well and we are committed to making that happen.
“But years of deterioration and corruption cannot be remedied over night.
“But again, we must emphasise that it is our business and our duty to ensure that we put the Nigerian economy on a path of sustained growth.
“And that is exactly what we are determined to do.’’
Osinbajo said that the federal government had in the past 13 months intervened in the economy three times to give the states enough resources to pay salaries.
According to him the government’s last intervention happened in December 2016 when the federal government refunded the Paris Club debt which it owed states since 2005 even when oil sold for $115 per barrel.
He said President Muhammadu Buhari insisted that the refund must be made and said that at least 50 per cent of it be used for payment of workers’ salaries.
He said the administration was bent on implementing that Presidential directive adding that many states had used that for the purpose in December.
He said it had always been the concern of Buhari and the government to ensure that the most vulnerable in the society took as little of the pay as possible.
Osinbajo remarked that the social investment programme of the administration had been rolled out targeting 500,000 unemployed graduates for the N-power volunteer scheme.
He also said the government had started paying N5,000 a month to the poorest Nigerians as part of the conditional cash transfer scheme.
Osinbajo added that the home-grown school feeding programme had started in many states adding that credit facilities were being provided for 1.6 million market women, traders and artisans.
The Acting President said that the administration’s comprehensive economic strategy was the growth plan being considered by the stakeholders.
He, however, observed that certain things had been considered that must happen in the plan for it to yield good results.
“The first is agriculture and food security, the second is energy which covers power and petroleum product sufficiency.
“The third is industrialisation and small business and the fourth is stabilising the macro-economic environment and especially foreign exchange policy.’’
Osinbajo said that every of the target must happen in the short and immediate term, adding that government was working to ensure that it achieved them.
He said the ERGP spelt out step by step how the administration intended to make them to happen adding that the stakeholders’ contributions would enrich the debate and quality of the growth plan.
Osinbajo said that fundamental to the growth of the economy, was government’s plan to involve the private sector in view of the fact that the administration could not do it alone.
He said most of the effort at developing the economy would come from the private sector.
He assured that government would provide the environment that would be favourable to achieving the targets.
The Budget and National Planning Minister, Sen. Udoma Udoma, said in a speech that the specific objectives of the forum were to review the context of the ERGP and share the plan’s structure and discus potential key initiatives.
He added that the forum was also to solicit feedback from the private sector noting that the plan was to drive the Nigerian to a minimum GDP growth rate of seven per cent within the plan period of 2017 to 2020.
“Our plan is to have an economy with low inflation, stable exchange rates and a diversified and inclusive growth,’’ he added. (NAN)