President Buhari at the launch of ERGP laboratories in Abuja By Cecilia Ologunagba
The Federal Government has so far planned 240 projects for the focus laboratories of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), said today Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, the Minister of Budget and National Planning.
Udoma revealed it at the opening of the focus laboratories by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The minister said the government aimed to mobilize at least $ 25 billion or its equivalent of Naira in private investments through the laboratories.
"Many have asked if we are not being too ambitious to aim for $ 25 billion.My answer is that we have no other choice: President Buhari arrives at the launch with Vice President Osinbajo and Senator Udoma Udo Udoma
"In fact, we need multiples of $ 25 billion, or its equivalent in Naira, of new investments to create enough jobs to cope with the high unemployment rate in the country.
"Then, we will not stop after the first set of laboratories, after this first set of laboratories, we will have more laboratories and more laboratories.
"We will continue to address all the limitations of investments until we achieve the objectives we have set for ourselves," he said.
According to him, the implementation of the initiative will further boost the rapid delivery of some of the ERGP results and will help accelerate the country's growth momentum.
Udoma said that the laboratories, scheduled for the next six weeks, would begin with the establishment of the agenda of projects capable of impacting the economy.
The minister said that the laboratories would end with the final syndication and the beginning of the session in the projects capable of impacting the economy and creating jobs for the Nigerians.
"The expected deliverables are the identification of projects followed by detailed implementation plans for each project with identified budgets and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
"The process has become imperative because the government is totally committed to achieving the main objective of the ERGP, which is to restore the strength of the economy.
"We can not rest until we achieve the ERGP vision of a new Nigeria.
"We can not rest until we see a Nigeria that transforms from a consuming nation to a producer nation, from a nation dependent on imports to an export-oriented nation.
"A Nigeria of a nation that survives on a single commodity to a nation that operates with multiple engines of growth," he said.
Udoma said the government had invited potential and existing local and foreign investors, who might be interested in investing in any of the three focus areas to attend closed-door sessions.
"The three sectors are: Agriculture and Transport, Manufacturing and Processing, and Energy and Gas.
"In the sessions, they will have access in one place to all government officials, including officials of state governments.
"Officials, whose support or approvals they may need to enable them to commit to an investment decision." In summary, the focus laboratories will involve stakeholders from the public and private sectors working together in a single environment.
"Stakeholders in the sectors will think of practical and feasible solutions to offer the kind of results Nigeria needs," the minister said.
He also said that the central objective of the laboratories would be to attract private capital to finance projects throughout the country.
According to him, the objective was to raise the level of productivity in Nigeria, saying that "we want more things to be grown in Nigeria".
"We want more things to be processed and manufactured in Nigeria, we want more jobs created in Nigeria, that's what the focus labs are about.
"We will have several economic agents (public and private), including industry leaders, experts in the field, national and international financing agencies, etc. that interact in the laboratories.
"They will interact to find practical solutions to the problems raised, breakage silos, ensure alignments and a secure commitment to financing and implementation."
Udoma explained that the labs were workshop style arrangements with open and intense discussions and a "practical all-terrain" approach and with several syndications to arrive at practical and innovative solutions.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the ERGP is a medium-term plan, 2017-2020, launched by the President in April 2017.
ERGP establishes the direction of government policy for the economy to put it on the path of strong, diversified, inclusive and sustainable growth.