PUTTING NIGERIA’S FOUR-YEAR ECONOMIC RECOVERY AND GROWTH PLAN IN PERSPECTIVE

Ben Adam Shemang, Abuja

When President Muhammadu Buhari launched Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP lastmonth, it was with a desire to restore the nation’s economic status following the high rate of inflation and recession in the country.

The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan was borne out of the President’s commitment to deliver on the three key areas of his campaign promises to Nigerians, which are to tackle, corruption, insecurity and ensure economic growth.

These, he has vowed to pursue with a renewed vigour to ensure Nigeria’s economy gets out of recession and developed for the common good of its citizens.

The four-year plan which pans between 2017 and 2020, seeks to achieve a seven per cent economic growth by the year 2020.

It is pertinent to state that the aim of the ERGP is not just to take the country out of economic recession, but also to transit from being an import dependent nation to a production based and service providing nation, while placing it on the path of sustainable growth.

The four-year plan will also focus on agriculture, with a view to ensuring food security, employment generation, infrastructure development, industrialisation and encourage foreign and local investments.

President Muhammadu Buhari did not mince words when he said that his abiding faith in the economic recovery and growth plan was not negotiable as he has demonstrated this by his body language and actions lately.

This is exemplified by the zeal and aggressiveness which the government has deployed to fighting and defeating Boko Haram terrorists and the current steps at stamping out corruption in the country.

In her recent past, Nigeria has witnessed various forms of agitations, insurgency and militancy among the divergent tribes and religions in the country. These developments have taken their toll not only on economic activities but also the infrastructural and socio-political development of the country.

In 2014 and 2015, the CNN money described Nigeria as the third fastest growing economy in the world, but the country lost that position due to unfriendly investment climate at home coupled with the global recession.

However, Nigeria still remains the largest economy in Africa, even after the rebasing of its economy by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and development experts.

With a population of about 170 million people, there is no doubt that Nigeria is amassive market. Her vibrant and employable youth population as well as a robust workforce and very large expanse of arable land for agricultural purposes, will undoubtedly yield satisfactory returns on investment.

To show his doggedness in achieving his economic roadmap, President Buhari has directed government technocrats to optimise local contents by way of looking inwards in the production process, in order to boost the Gross Domestic Products of the country as well as empower indigenous enterprises.

Special attention is also being paid to revamping the transportation sector and industrialization while efforts are being made to ensure investment friendly climate for local and international investors. In President Buhari’s words, “we must become a nation where we grow what we eat and consume what we produce”.

It is gratifying to note that the nation’s currency, the Naira, has started regaining its strength compared with other global currencies. This is as a result of some deft monetary policies currently in place.

Government must however take some measures in order to fully realise the laudable objectives of ERGP.

Critical among these is the urgent need to provide uninterrupted electricity.

This is crucial to industrialization. Also, constant water supply, infrastructure development, skilful and disciplined workforce devoid of corruption, elimination of double or multiple taxation, making processes of establishing and running businesses less cumbersome as well as guaranteeing the security of life and property.

The recent suspension of Nigeria’s Intelligence Agency boss, Mr. Ayodele Oke and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Babachir Lawal over allegations of financial fraud is commendable and seen by many Nigerians and the international community as a reassuring move by the government to tackle corruption in the country headlong.

With the current political will and government’s apparent commitment to get the Nigerian economy out of the woods, the four-year economic recovery and growth plan is on a sure path of success.