Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, says President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has “lifted millions of Nigerians out of poverty” in the last three years.
Osinbajo said this in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, at the 17th Joint Planning Board and National Council on Development Planning (NCPD) on Thursday.
The Vice President said within the same period, the administration had also laid a solid foundation for a more resilient and competitive economy as well as providing the needed infrastructure and opened the space for private investment to accelerate growth and development through the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) initiative.
Osinbajo identified “social investment initiatives” as the vehicles used to pull Nigerians, in their millions, away from the poverty trap.
Speaking on the NCPD meeting with the theme, “Accelerating the implementation of the Economy Recovery and Growth Plan: The Role of Stakeholders,” he noted that the federal government is committed to ensuring that it delivers on the objectives and targets of ERGP.
According to him, the administration via the ERGP, has revitalised fertiliser blending plants which assisted Nigeria to save over 200 million dollar annually.
“We are proud of the successes recorded in the agricultural sector. The revitalization of our fertilizer blending plants alone has saved the country over $200 million annually in foreign exchange and over N60 billion in budgetary provisions for fertilizer subsidies.
“This has also made it possible to purchase fertilizer at prices up to 30% cheaper than previously available. We are importing less rice today than we did few years ago.
“Indeed, I am glad to note the partnerships that some states like Kebbi and Lagos have entered into in a bid to support the agricultural development and food security objective of the ERGP. I expect to see more of such model agricultural collaboration among other states,” he said.
He also identified the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), security and inflow of foreign investments as areas where the ERGP has helped the country to experience successes.
“I am aware that the National Committee on Export Promotion is implementing a plan to enhance export promotion and economic diversification in line with the Zero Oil Plan (ZOP) initiative. We have equally budgeted N44.2 billion in the 2018 Budget for the establishment of Special Economic Zones in the country’s six geo-political zones to drive local manufacturing and exports.
“We are also paying close attention to the Mining sector by reinforcing the Mining Regulatory Agency. About N644 million has been voted for this in the 2018 budget. We are ready to set up a National Gold Purchase Scheme. The CBN is also advancing discussions on the modalities for gold purchase towards enhancing liquidity in the sector.
“I believe strongly that to accelerate implementation of the ERGP and deliver on its target of 7% GDP growth by 2020, we surely need massive amounts of private investment. And that underscores the significance of the ERGP Focus Labs. I am pleased to note that this exercise has yielded positive outcomes.
“In the past few months, we have taken a number of decisions that will further facilitate the realization of the massive private investments unlocked in these labs. And I think the States must be commended for their willingness to cooperate and assist in making these investments to happen.
“From our reports, some of the States have responded positively to a number of approvals that were required from them. Indeed, the success of the Labs is a clear testimony to what partnerships between the public and the private sector can achieve when they collectively work together for public good,” he added.
Meanwhile, Osinbajo was represented at the occasion by the Minister for Budget and Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma.