Business Hilights
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Failure of ERGP may haunt planned new economic development plan—Expert

Development indicators over the last four years of the just ended Federal Government economic development blueprint, the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) launched in 2017 are showing strong signals that it may have failed to deliver good results after all.

Though the apex government has remained mute on the success or otherwise, analysts say the speed with which the government is rushing to replace ERGP shows that it left much to be desired within the period under review.

Business Hilights recalls that the ERGP was premised to grow the economy strongly out of recession, but latest Nigeria’s economic growth projection by the IMF this week, dowgraded growth from paltry 2.5% to 2%.

Besides, the way and manner the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had continued to be economical with words on the performance of the economy especially whenever it addresses the press at the end of its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meetings which it usually ends by saying that the economy is still fragile showed that the ERGP was not doing well.

In the last four years of the plan, the real sector has refused to show any clear sign of growth even as the manufacturing sector stayed in coma as profit taking and even drop in the number of portfolio investors at the stock market continue to manifest unabated.

Besides, several tax reforms of the Federal Government failed also to raise the targeted revenue base of the nation as budgets within the period continued to end up in high deficit.

Also, unemployment rate has continued to climb without any relief insight as several borrowers of agric loans especially the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) for rice farmers are still telling stories in repaying their facilities.

It would be recalled that the ERGP which is government’s economic blueprint for 2017-2020 had what can be described as broad objectives of restoring growth, investing in the people and building a globally competitive economy, but all the targets seem elusive.

The ERGP aimed to address the country’s economic challenges and lays the foundation for economic diversification and growth, but facts on ground have failed to show any sign of success.

At inception, the core vision of the plan is one of sustained, inclusive and diversified growth as the initiatives of the plan are directed at attaining structural economic transformation which have remained very hard to find anywhere or in any sector of the economy till now.

In his assessment of the ERGP, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba, who was tactically economic with words, said its review was currently ongoing to ascertain what had worked well and what had not.

However, he revealed fresh plans to replace the failed ERGP with another economic blueprint which he refused to give a name.

According to him, the new economic blueprint would cover a 10-year period with a five year rolling plan

The minister averred that “It (new plan) has to go beyond the ERGP. We are looking at very old plans that we have had before.

“We already asking the MDAs to review their sector plans and we are currently receiving them with a view to consolidating them and giving them to the technical working committee to work on.”

The minister, who expressed disappointment at the level of infrastructural decay during his recent tour of the Centre for Management Development (CMD) in both Lagos and Abuja, further agreed that “We have to do all that we can to change the narrative because lamentation will not help. We have to start taking those steps gradually.”