By Joseph INOKOTONG
The Federal Government has reassured Nigerians that it has both the political will and execution capacity to drive the implementation of the recently released Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), to achieve the desired objectives.
The assurance follows apprehensions in some quarters that Nigeria’s challenge has never been that of crafting beautiful plans, but more of lack of the necessary will to implement them.
A statement signed by Akpandem James, Media Adviser to the Minister said “answering questions on Nigerian Television Authority’s breakfast programme, Good Morning Nigeria, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma said right from the onset, the present administration had given clear indications that it is interested in planning and following up its plans with action.”
According to the statement, “this was exemplified in the merging of the Budget Office and the National Planning Commission, with the core mandate of aligning annual budgets with national plans and ensuring the achievement of the objectives of government.
“One of the things the President did while constituting the Cabinet was to merge budget with national planning together. Why did he do that? He did it because he wanted to ensure that the budget which is the main instrument through which government carries out its projects aligns with the national plan.
Citing the 2017 Budget which is aligned with the ERGP as an example, the Minister said “right from the beginning it was clear that this is where we are going; that we are going to have planning as an important focus and then the budget rolls out of the plan”.
In addition to the alignment of budget and planning which sets the tone for effective realization of set objectives, the Minister said government has set up taskforces to drive programmes and projects in very critical sectors of the economy.
As part of the implementation plan, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are required to meet clear goals for project execution while the taskforces have the responsibility to monitor and ensure compliance.
Following up the process, the Ministry of budget and National Planning will submit monitoring and evaluation reports on a quarterly basis to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and subsequently to the Nigerian people, he explained.
To underscore the importance government places on implementation, the Minister said a Delivery Unit is being established in the Presidency as a vehicle for driving implementation. Domiciling the Unit in the Presidency is to have the clout of the President behind it.
The President, he said, is concerned about the plight of Nigerians and is determined to ensure that those entrusted with responsibilities that will alleviate their sufferings deliver on them as expected.
According to him, government is focused on delivering on the core objectives as well as driving the execution priorities of the plan for the speedy recovery of the economy and to set it on the path of inclusive and sustained growth.
He stressed the role of the private sector in the success of the plan, pointing out that most of the activities that will create jobs and grow the industrial sector will be driven by the private sector; but he added that government has a responsibility to lay the groundwork that will allow the private sector to flourish.
To integrate the private sector into the implementation agenda of government, the Minister said “we are engaging with the private sector constantly and continuously. We go to them as different groups, and in different sectors. We will look at every single sector, meet with them, define targets and work with them; and in doing so they will have clarity in terms of what government expects from them”, he explained.
The Minister assured that government is working relentlessly at ensuring a better business climate in the country.
By Joseph INOKOTONG