Asset divestment, stable oil production and expansion of economic infrastructure are parts of the strategic plans of the Nigerian government to haul the troubled economy out of recession and restore growth, the Minister for Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udoma, has disclosed.
Mr. Udoma spoke on Monday at the State House, Abuja, where he unveiled the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, 2017-2020, during the Second Presidential Business Forum chaired by the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo.
According to the minister, the ERGP, a new medium-term plan, was designed to combat the current economic crisis, restore growth and ensure sustained inclusive growth.
To implement the ERGP, he said the government had prioritised 12 strategies, though 59 strategies had been developed.
The priority strategies are: privatization of ‘selected’ public asset; cutting costs of governance; restoration of crude oil production to 2.2 million barrels per day (mbpd), targeting 2.5mbpd by 2020; investment in critical infrastructure, especially electricity, roads, and railways to support investments; and revamping the country’s refineries.
Others are: expansion of social investment programmes; improving the ease of doing business in the country; accelerated implementation of National Industrial Revolution Plan; exports promotion; agricultural transformation; improving skills, and enhancing growth.
The sale of national asset to raise funds needed to combat recession, when it was muted last year, sparked debate, dividing analysts and lawmakers.
Nigeria’s economy heavily relies on oil revenue. Slide in oil prices and low output due to renewed insurgency in the Niger Delta region have hit the country and plunged her into recession which has seen businesses and families go through worst experiences in years.
It was learnt that Nigeria is also making efforts to secure funds from multilateral agencies and China to address her economic challenges, including to fund budget especially critical infrastructural objectives.
But last week, an exclusive report by Reuters said the country’s efforts to secure funds may have stalled “because it has not submitted the required economic reform plans.”
While it quoted unnamed sources in global and Nigeria’s finance circle, Reuters quoted the African Development Bank, AfDB, President, Akinwunmi Adeshina, as saying the bank held back the last tranche of $one billion loan for Nigeria.
“We are waiting for the economic policy recovery programme and the policy framework for that,” Mr. Adeshina was quoted as saying, while explaining reason for holding back last tranche of loan for Nigeria.
Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, declined comment on the Reuters’ report. Her spokesperson, Felix Akanbi, who also asked to be sent a message did not reply.