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FG frustrating own progress in delaying budgetary allocations—OBJ’s aide

Former chief executive of the National Planning Commission/economic adviser to ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, Prof. Ode Ojowu has traced the key challenge of the current administration’s economic policies to delays in release of budgetary allocations for capital projects.

In an interview, he said the monster may derail the current development blueprint of the government called that Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

In his  views, the “ERGP projects a growth rate of GDP of 4.8 per cent in 2018 and a downward review, or a ‘slight dip’ to 4.5 per cent in 2019 because of the national election of that year” is full of ominous signs.

Explaining more in a paper he presented in Kano at a workshop organised by the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) for finance correspondents, Ojowu observed that while a decline of 0.3 per cent of GDP is not slight, it is even more dangerous to assume automatic correction of “The decline in growth immediately after the election year. “Our recent experience does not support this claim of automatic correction. Indeed, having acknowledged the potential negative impact of the election on the growth of the GDP, the ‘Do nothing approach’ to this anticipated negative impact of elections in 2019 is itself a negation of the very essence of the ERGP,” he stated.

“The ERGP is a blueprint for recovery from recession in the short term and a strategy for sustainable growth and development in the medium term. The ERGP has three major objectives that will help achieve the vision of inclusive growth, namely, restoring growth with a focus on six priority sectors of agriculture, manufacturing, solid minerals, services, construction and real estate and oil and gas; investing in people with emphasis on social inclusion, job creation and youth empowerment and improved human capital.

“The third objective is building a globally competitive economy by building physical infrastructure and improving on the business environment with immediate emphasis on the ease of doing business.

Continuing, Ojowu averred that “The strategies designed under the ERGP are not just sector specific to accelerate growth restoration, they also promote cross-sectoral capacity building and critical infrastructural development. With a strategic balance of monetary and fiscal policies, internal consistency in inter-sectoral plans and external balances, prioritised sectoral funding, all against the background of over-arching political commitment, the ERGP expects to turn the Nigerian economy around through economic diversification. The diversification in turn will end the economy’s heavy dependence on the oil sector for both revenue and foreign exchange earnings”.