The Nigerian government has yet again reinstated its commitment to revamping the nation’s ailing economy by investing in the Nigerian people. President Muhammadu Buhari made this known Tuesday in his Democracy Day speech.
Buhari said in 2016, the present administration executed an expansionary budget and developed the Strategic Implementation Plan, to engender growth. He said, “For the first time, 30 per cent of the budget was earmarked for capital expenditure which represents an upward review when compared with the 2015 budget.
The President however did not comment on the 2018 budget whose passage analysts said was unduly delayed and could affect the nation’s economic progression. The budget, presented to the National Assembly in the fourth quarter of 2017 by the president, was not passed by the lawmakers until a few weeks ago.
The development is traced to the perceived rift between the President and a number of his appointees on the one hand, and the leadership of both chambers of the National Assembly on the other. “The SIP was followed by the development of a comprehensive medium term plan – the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017 – 2020,” he said of the ERGP initiative.
The President explained that the broad strategic objectives of the ERGP were to restore and sustain economic growth; Build a globally competitive economy; and invest in our people. “The implementation of the ERGP has started yielding results,” he said.
“The National Bureau of Statistics reports that the economy grew by 1.95 per cent in 1st quarter 2018, which is a good performance when viewed against -0.91 in 1stquarter 2017 and -0.67 percent in 1stquarter 2016 respectively.” On the nation’s foreign reserve, the president said it has improved significantly to 47.5 billion USD as of May, 2018 as against 29.6 billion USD in 2015. The inflationary rate has also consistently declined every month since January, 2017, he explained.
Some of the programmes put in place to invest in people and engender growth, according to the president, include the Social Investment Programme, the Home Grown School Feeding programme, the Conditional Cash Transfer programme and the N-Power Job Creation Scheme.
He noted that the major strategic objective of the SIP programme is to restore livelihood, economic opportunities and sustenance for the poor across the country. About 8.2 million pupils are currently being fed from 24 states of the federation with over 75,000 Catering Staff engaged under the Home Grown Feeding programme while the Conditional Cash Transfer has so far recorded “over 297,000 caregivers and being trained by 2,495 Community Facilitators in 21 states,” he said.
The president disclosed that the N-Power Job creation scheme, targeted at providing jobs for unemployed young graduates, has so far recruited 200,000 youths while the next batch of 300,000 have been selected, verified and would soon be deployed across the 36 States and the FCT. “Furthermore, 20,000 non-graduate volunteers have also been selected to kick off the N-Build programme in collaboration with the National Automotive Design and Development Council and the Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria,” he noted. He explained further that the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme has made it possible for about 264,269 loans disbursed to 4,822 societies in the 36 States and FCT, while another 370,635. Premium Times