The Nigerian Government has said it will provide at least 15 million jobs for Nigerians by the year 2020 as captured in the recently launched Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma, gave the assurance at a news conference on ERGP yesterday in Abuja.
Udoma said the implementation of the plan would deliver some key outcomes including generation of at least 10 gigawatt of electricity by 2020.
“We want to bring down the rate of unemployment by creating over 15 million direct jobs by 2020 in agriculture, manufacturing, construction, services and particularly among the youth.
“We want the manufacturing sector to grow at average of 8.5 per cent, peaking 10.6 per cent by 2020.
“We want agriculture to also grow by 6.9 per cent over the Plan period; we want self-sufficiency in rice and wheat in 2018 and 2020 at the end of the plan period.
“We want 60 per cent reduction in imports of refined petroleum products by 2018 and to become a net exporter of refined crude by 2020.
“We expect an average of 4.6 per cent average real GDP (Gross Domestic Growth) growth rate over the Plan period with 7 per cent by 2020; we want to achieve single digit inflation rate by 2020.
“We want to increase crude oil output from 2.2 million barrel per day (mbpd) to 2.5 mbpd by 2020.
“We want to achieve at 10 gigawatt of operational electricity capacity by 2020.’’
Udoma said the ERGP evolved from the Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) which government had been implementing since 2016.
“Already, following the implementation of the SIP, the economy has shown signs of early recovery in the 4th quarter of 2016 as indicated in the recent report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
“We need to build on that momentum. This Plan, which succeeds the SIP, sets out Government’s economic programmes and strategic interventions over the next four years (2017-2020).
“When implemented, it will put Nigeria back on the path of diversified, inclusive, sustained growth. This is therefore, our blueprint for economic recovery and growth.’’
Udoma said the plan would tackle the fundamental problems that held back the progress of the country in the past.
He said the future prosperity rests upon collective support towards effective implementation of the Plan over the next four years.
The ERGP’s projected that Nigeria will make significant progress to achieve structural economic change with a more diversified and inclusive economy in five key areas by 2020.
Udoma said the ERGP is inclusive as the Federal Government will partner with state governments in its implementation.
He said that the ERGP took into considering the role of states, constituencies and local government as a federation with 36 states and 774 local government areas.
“We consulted with the states and they have a major role to play, 50 per cent of this economy is at the state level and many of the things we want to do, for instance agriculture is at the state level.
“The ease of doing business, most of the permits are given at the state level so we are working very closely with the state governments and what they will be doing is based on this plan.
“They will go down to each state and develop their own plans which will be aligned with this plan.
“Some of them already have their plan, so they just need to adjust it a bit so that it is seamless.
“So this plan, the plans of the states will be working collaboratively and closely together,’’ he said.
Udoma said that the Chairman of the Governors Forum had assured of the states’ commitment and pledged to partner with the Federal Government on the implementation.
“So every time we meet at the National Economic Council with the governors, we discuss the plan and we work together to try to see how we can make sure that there is extensive collaboration between the states and the Federal Government.
“So, the states are part of this plan and they are very important part of the plan,’’ he said.
On the passage of 2017 budget, he said that the ministry was working closely with the National Assembly to ensure its early passage.
“As regards transportation, whatever needs to be done to provide improved transportation, whether marine, the ports, the rail, roads is all part of our objective, we want massive improvement in transportation.’’
Udoma said the plan provided incentives for the private sector to invest in key sectors.
“What drive the private sector are incentives and profit, so whatever you structure, you must show people a part to make some money from it. Once you show people a part, they will invest.
“So our part as government is where there are constrains, we tackle them, where there are bottle necks we remove them and we want to sit down with the private sector and show them that there are opportunities in this economy.’’
He said the plan would be an opportunity for the private sector to invest in the economy.
This post first appeared on The Nation Nigeria.