AS the federal government gets set to replace the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) with a new economic plan, the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP), reports from both government sources and private sector assessment have indicated massive failures in the ERGP across almost all the target points.
Financial Vanguard learnt that rather than build on the expected gains as originally envisaged in the plan, the Ministry of Finance has been forced to totally trash the plan as the results of the efforts made as well as estimated N6.4 trillion capital expenditure outlay in its three years life did not yield any strong gain to build upon.
ERGP is a medium term plan set for 2017 to 2020, developed to restore Nigeria’s economic growth at the backdrop of the negative growth recorded in 2016 when the economy formally went into recession.
The process started with the development of the Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) for the 2016 “Budget of Change” as a short-term intervention. The ERGP was built on the SIP, just as NESP was expected to have been built on the ERGP.
But according to a senior official of the Finance Ministry, “the failures of ERGP provided no ground upon which to build anything as earlier planned and coupled with the unexpected emergence of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which ultimately buried whatever could have been salvaged in the plan, the government was forced to draw-up the new plan from the scratch.
The Minister of State for Budget, Prince Clement Agba, while speaking on the new plan explained that the new national development plan had become necessary following the winding down of the ERGP this year. He emphasised the need for a replacement in view of the realities on ground.
The ERGP envisaged that by 2020, the administration would have achieved five key broad outcomes, namely: a stable macroeconomic environment, agricultural transformation and food security, sufficiency in energy (power and petroleum products), improved transportation infrastructure and industrialization focusing on small and medium scale enterprises.
It also outlined bold initiatives such as ramping up oil production to 2.5mbpd by 2020, privatizing selected public enterprises/assets, and revamping local refineries to reduce petroleum product imports by 60 percent before end 2018.
To restore growth in the macroeconomic stability and economic diversification the ERGP targeted annual average real GDP growth rate of 4.62% between 2017 and 2020, as well as bring the inflation rate to a single digit of 9.9% by year end 2020.
Recent data from the Ministry of Finance shows the disparity between the projected macroeconomic variables and the actual figures. The best GDP result was in 2019 with 2.27%. But this indicated less than half of the target was met.