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Controversy on whether the highly celebrated President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (EGRP) is actually a home-grown economic policy or not may have sparked off with the announcement of the hiring of a Malaysian consultant to help conduct a study that would aid the implementation of the plan.
It would be recalled that the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, had disclosed to State House correspondents at the end of a meeting of the Federal Executive Council presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Udoma put the cost of the approved consultancy job at N458m.
But some experts who barred their minds on the rationale in hiring a Malaysian experts to carry out a study, queried the extent to which the consultant know the workings of the Nigerian economy before now so as to stand a better chance of advising the government.
They noted that hiring a foreign consultant to study Nigerian economy rather than millions of Nigerian economic experts is another form of capital flight and an open embarrassment of the number of universities and related research institutions in Nigeria.
Besides, other query whether ERGP was not originally a product of research before being launched in a highly celebrated ceremony considering the twist in hiring a research consultant almost four months after unveiling the scheme.
According to them, why has the government been calling on Nigerian businesses to key into the ERGP when the Malaysian is yet to begin their studies so as to identify sectors that will be more engaged than others.
It would be recalled also that the Minister, Udoma had noted that the consultants would identify relevant stakeholders in both the public and private sectors for the implementation of the ERGP.
The minister explained that the study would be conducted in agriculture, transportation, power, gas and processing, among others.
Udoma stated, “Today, the Federal Executive Council approved a memorandum that was brought by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning to retain some consultants to help us to conduct some pilot labs. This is part of our implementation strategy for the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.
“We intend to conduct three labs; one in agriculture and transportation, one in power and gas, and one in manufacturing and processing. The key objectives of the labs include to identify all relevant key stakeholders from the public and private sectors that are crucial in the delivery and implementation of the ERGP initiative so as to create ownership early on in the development process.
“We will review and re-evaluate the ERGP and sectoral plans against set targets and progress, and will include identifying gaps in the current ecosystem and the key success factors. We will further deliver detailed three-phase implementation programme and line-by-line implementation activities.”
Udoma added further that “We will identify entry point projects, we will identify key performance indicators, breaking down silos and encouraging key players. Now, the focus of the lab is to mobilise private sector investment to finance specific capital projects. Public resources are limited, so these labs will bring in private sector players”.