|President Muhammadu Buhari|
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday assured Nigerians that his administration would approach the nation’s economic challenges with the same commitment it had put into fighting corruption and terrorism.
Buhari made the promise while launching the country’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017-2020 at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
While saying his administration inherited numerous challenges, the President recalled that his political campaign was based on a recognition of the difficult situation Nigeria was in and the need to bring positive and enduring change.
He said he remained committed to his electoral promise to change the way of doing things and change Nigeria for good.
The President stated, “We are committed to delivering on the three key areas that we promised; these are improving security, tackling corruption and revitalising the economy. Security in the North-East and other parts of Nigeria is significantly better today than when we came in.
“With regards to our fight against corruption, as you all know, our law enforcement agencies are prosecuting very many cases of corruption. Our successes in these two areas are clear for all to see.
“I want to assure all Nigerians that we are approaching the solution to our economic challenges with the same will and commitment that we have demonstrated in the fight against corruption and in the fight against terrorism and militancy.”
Buhari said the ERGP had brought the government’s sectoral plans for agriculture and food security, energy and transport infrastructure, industrialisation and social investments together a single document.
According to him, the plan builds on the Strategic Implementation Plan and sets out an ambitious road map to return the economy to growth, and to achieve a seven per cent growth rate by 2020.
The President added that the government’s aim was to optimise local content and empower local businesses, noting that the plan was to place the nation on the path of sustained growth.
Buhari said, “We seek not just to take the Nigerian economy out of recession, but 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 nation. 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.
“The plan I am launching today, therefore, sets out what we, as a government, are committed to do, to create the enabling environment for business to thrive. The plan is a national plan, hence the role of state governments is critical to its success.
“I, therefore, wish to appeal 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.”
Buhari also called on all Nigerians to work with the government to ensure that the objectives of the plan were realised.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, said from when he was campaigning, Buhari had shown commitment to change Nigeria in a fundamental way.
He said the ERGP was a fulfilment of his promise to re-invigorate the economy and noted that while the plan had just been formally launched, its implementation had started earlier.
The minister stated that the plan put together in one place for easy access all the sectoral plans that the government had been working on from inception, including the Strategic Implementation Plan for the 2016 Budget.
He assured Nigerians that the plan would be effectively implemented.
“Whilst the Ministry of Budget and Planning will be coordinating the plan, the President has approved that a special delivery unit be created in the Presidency to monitor its implementation and remove all bottlenecks to the plan’s implementation,” he added
The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, described the plan as a promise kept.
He said because the National Assembly was carried along in preparing it, the federal lawmakers would make it work.
“I pledge that we will make this work because we were consulted and we are part of it. We are also working closely with the Ease of Doing Business Committee. It is a great document and we will ensure its implementation,” Saraki stated.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, also pledged the support of the lower chamber of the National Assembly for the plan and made a case for its proper implementation.
He said, “My concern is the implementation, but we have been reassured by the minister that it will not go the way of good visions in the past that failed because they were never implemented.
“We have in the person of Mr. President a good captain. I pledge the unalloyed support of the House to the implementation of this document and we promise that we will follow through to see that this document is implemented because this nation is a burial ground for good ideas that were never implemented.”
The Chairman, Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Abdulaziz Yari, said the plan marked a milestone in the economic management process of the country.