President Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday, announced the economic direction of his administration and promised an economic growth rate of seven percent by the year 2020. The announcement was made at the launch of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP: 2017-2020) at the Council Chambers of the State House, Abuja.
In an address delivered at the event, the President said his administration is committed to delivering in three key areas: improving security, tackling corruption and revitalizing the economy. The ERGP, explained the President, is an amalgam of all the administration’s sectoral plans for agriculture and food security, energy and transport infrastructure, industrialization and social investments.
“It (ERGP) builds on the Strategic Implementation Plan and sets out an ambitious roadmap to return the economy to growth and to achieve a 7% growth rate by 2020," Mr. Buhari said. "Our aim, simply put, is to optimize local content and empower local businesses. We seek not just to take the Nigerian economy out of recession, but to place it on a path of sustained, inclusive and diversified growth."
He added that Nigeria needs to shed her import-dependent habit and become a producing country, which produces what it consumes and consumes what it produces in addition to having a virile national currency.
According to Mr. Buhari, the ERGP seeks to create an enabling environment for business to thrive, adding that it is a national plan which requires a buy-in from state governments. He called on state governments to draw inspiration and strategic direction from the ERGP to articulate their economic programs, particularly in the development of the real estate sector.
The contents of the plan, stated the President, are already familiar to a broad-section of Nigerians because they were developed in consultation with a broad spectrum of stakeholders, including the National Assembly, State Governments, the business community, labor unions, academia, civil society groups and development partners. The President commended the Economic Management Team, led by Vice President Yemi Osibajo, and the Ministry of Budget and National Planning for successfully coordinating the development of the ERGP.
He added that his administration has improved security in the insurgency-ravaged Northeastern part of the country and the country in general as well as strengthened the fight against corruption.
“Security in the Northeast and other parts of Nigeria is significantly better today than when we came in. With regards to our fight against corruption, as you all know, our law enforcement agencies are prosecuting very many cases of corruption. Our successes in these two areas are clear for all to see. I want to assure all Nigerians that we are approaching the solution to our economic challenges with the same will and commitment we have demonstrated in the fight against corruption and in the fight against terrorism and militancy,” stated President Buhari.
He reminded his audience that his administration inherited numerous challenges which, as he promised during his campaign, will be tackled with commitment required to ensure positive and lasting change.