Saturday, May 15, 2021

Nigeria ERGP focus labs identifies 59 projects for execution – Udoma

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The Nigerian government says it has identified about 59 projects and initiatives for execution under its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udoma, said this was made during the three weeks intensive focus lab programme organised by the government as part of the implementation process of the ERGP.

The minister said most of the projects were classified in the four and five-star categories, while several others are rated one to three-star.

The projects are in the manufacturing and processing; agriculture, transport, power and gas sectors of the economy.

Mr. Udoma said the four and five-star rated projects are those almost ready for execution, but requiring just finishing touches to conclude.

The one to three star-rated projects are with potentials, but need to be further worked upon, he stated.

Government has promised to continue to work with these categories of investors to improve the ratings of their projects to a five-star status.

The minister said two of the projects in the manufacturing and processing Lab have already procured letters from the relevant ministries concerned to move ahead.

On the power and gas lab, Mr. Udoma said progress has been made in issuance of licenses/permits, customs and excise duties; funding/potential partnership and other syndication issues.

In the agriculture and transport lab, progress has equally been recorded in developing a market-driven out-grower scheme that would benefit medium-size farms across the country, Mr. Udoma said.

Given the number of projects likely to be ready for approval by the end of the lab process, the minister said government estimates about 570,600 jobs would be created at the end of the programme.

The minster said he was optimistic resolving inter-agency bottlenecks in investment in the economy, which is one of the cardinal objectives of the focus labs, would be achieved.

Meanwhile, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said the federal government embarked on the focus lab initiative to redress challenges of investments in the country.

The Mr. Osinbajo was speaking after the gallery walk in the three labs’ setting at the mid-lab syndication meeting in Abuja.

He hailed the enthusiasm and commitment of the participants, saying this would help achieve the overall goal of attracting an initial $25 billion in investments from the private sector.

At the launch of the labs on March 13, 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari said the initial labs would focus on investments in the agriculture and transportation, manufacturing and processing and power and gas sectors. They are billed to round off April 26.

“I am particularly impressed by the level of commitment, enthusiasm and interest by participants in accepting to lock themselves up for six weeks in a bid to fast track the growth and development of the country,” the vice president said.

He said although regulatory processes were necessary to protect institutions and streamline activities, government appreciated that it was necessary to limit bureaucratic tendencies capable of getting in the way of progress.

The vice president said he was encouraged that Nigeria has what it takes to realise set goals.

“We have made remarkable progress. Working together, we can achieve so much,” he said.

To underscore his observation during the gallery walk of the labs, the Vice President recounted the report by the leader of the Malaysian consultants working with the ERGP Implementation Team on the labs.

He said the Malaysian said that based on his experience in other parts of the world, the ERGP focus labs achieved about 80 per cent success in the three weeks so far.

For Minister of Budget and National Planning, the essence of the focus labs was to identify and unlock investments from the private sector by resolving complex inter-agency problems that act as barriers to private sector investments.

He noted the dedication and resilience of the participants, pointing out that it was a huge sacrifice for them as owners and operators of businesses to leave their duty posts for six weeks of engagement.

“The progress we have witnessed during the gallery walk in the various labs reflects the enormous amount of work you have put in the past three weeks,” he added.

He said by bringing investors and heads of critical agencies of government into a confined environment, government was offering a platform to finalise their business decisions in the fastest possible manner.

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