The federal government said its target of attracting private investment worth 25 billion-dollars through its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) ‘Focused Laboratories’ was still on course. The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udo Udoma said this on Thursday in Abuja, at the progress meeting of the ERGP Focused Labs with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
He said the meeting was to review what the participants of the Focused Labs had done in the past three weeks and what was expected of them until the programme ends on April 26. “The ERGP Focused Labs was set up to identify and unlock investments from the private sector by resolving complex inter-agency problems that act as a barrier to private sector investment.
“Through the Focused Labs, we brought together investors, heads of agencies of government into a single environment. “From what we have seen so far, and the data available from the three labs, we are clearly on course to meeting our target of 25 billion dollars investment commitment.
“We are on course but more work needs to be done. A number of problems have been identified. We have to spend the next two weeks tackling each of the problems one by one,” Udoma said. The minister explained that through the Focused Labs, 59 projects in the ERGP, with maximum economic viability had been selected to be priotised.
“These are projects that are near ready but require just a little push to get them onboard. I am pleased to note that in the Power and Gas plan, progress has been made with regards to issues of issuance of licences, payments, customs and excise papers, funding potential partnerships and other issues.
“In the Manufacturing and Processing plan, two projects have already been able to procure letters from the ministries concerned to move ahead with the projects. “For the Agriculture and Transport plan, progress is already being made to develop a market-driven Out-Growers Scheme that will benefit small to medium size farmers across the country.
“Looking at all the four to five star projects that should be ready for approval by the end of this week, we are positive that the aim of resolving inter-agency bottlenecks is being achieved,” he said.
Udoma said the Ministers of Petroleum, Agriculture, Transport, Industry, Trade and Investment, Finance, Budget and National Planning, Justice as well as the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) would meet next week.
According to him, the meeting is to fast- track policy issues that have been identified by the Focused Labs. The Focused Labs are part of measures to drive the ERGP by bringing together the private and public sector officials.
The participants are expected to come up with ideas that would fast-track the achievements of the ERGP, especially the objective of over seven per cent growth plus exponential job creation by 2020. The initial labs are in agriculture and transportation, power and gas, and manufacturing and processing.
Thereafter, similar labs will be conducted in other areas, such as entertainment and tourism, health and education among others. The three main objectives of the initiative are to create new investment opportunities for critical projects, job creation and resolution of complex inter-agency problems that inhibit private sector investment.