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Using taskforce to implement ERGP’ll lead to duplication of duties, confusion, failure—Expert

As soon as the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, said the newly launched Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) would be driven by a task force to be constituted by the Federal Government, an economist, Mr. Salau Ibrahim has cautioned the plan, saying it will lead to confusion and eventual collapse of the plan’s target.

He said using a taskforce will be like creating a parallel platform which will be on collision course with Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the government.

He said “Rather than setting up a taskforce, it is better to reposition, retrain and retool the MDAs to buy into the plan as early as possible to avoid duplications which will be costly on the part of the ailing economy”.

“I think for the Minister and key driver of the ERGP to even dream of a taskforce means that government has not been carrying so many MDAs and relevant parties to the plan along right from the beginning to the current implementation stage and this will show very soon when implementation truly gets underway.

It would be recalled that Senator Udoma, had told journalists that the key strategy for the implementation of the plan would be use of taskforce especially in executing priority areas of the plan.

According to him, the priority areas include agriculture and food security; energy, which includes power and petroleum products’ sufficiency; transportation infrastructure; and industrialisation, focusing on the Small and Medium Enterprises.

The ERGP, which was launched last week by President Muhammadu Buhari, is targeting a real Gross Domestic Product of N81.38tn; increase in Value Added Tax rate on luxury items from five per cent to 15 per cent; single digit inflation rate of 9.9 per cent by 2020; and a free float of the naira in the foreign exchange market

According to the plan, it will enable the economy to increase the level of fresh jobs from 1.5 million in 2017 to 5.1 million by 2020; increase the revenue from oil and non-oil sources from N4.94tn in 2017 to N6.12tn in 2020; and divest holdings in some government assets in the oil sector.

However, Udoma added a caveat, saying “A more detailed implementation road map is being drawn up by a team of experts who are working with officials of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, together with officials of other Ministries, Department and Agencies”.

“They will be working out a more detailed cost estimate and financing plan, with detailed Key Performance Indicators. A delivery unit is being set up in the Presidency. The use of Implementation task forces to focus on the key execution priorities. The task forces will monitor the execution of projects and programmes in the respective sectors and report back.

“Some of these task forces may also have representation from the states and the private sector. Already, we have task forces working on rice, on power and on tomato paste.”

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