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Nigeria targets improved growth, ranking by 2020 with focus labs


Minister of State, National Planning and Budget, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, Minister, National Planning and Budget, Senator Udo Udoma and Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA

•Our plan is to mobilise $25bn in private investment, says Udoma

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Abuja said that the Federal Government was working assiduously‎ to reach the target of moving Nigeria up in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking by 2020, as well as accelerate economic growth.

President Buhari gave the assurance at the launch of the Focus Labs for the nation’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, which held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.The labs which are scheduled to run for the next six weeks, will start with setting the agenda and end with the final syndication and sign offs on projects capable of impacting on the economy and creating jobs for Nigerians.

The expected deliverables are the identification of projects followed by detailed implementation plans for each project with identified budgets and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).He said that the Labs being flagged off constitute one of the many strategies his administration was taking to ensure that the ERGP was effectively implemented.

“Focus Labs have been successfully used in other countries. The Labs in Nigeria are designed as closed-door investment platforms to identify and accelerate high-impact projects with significant impact on GDP and job creation. We remain committed to working hard to attain our target of moving up in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings by 2020.

“The Labs will also enable pre-screened private sector investors to have access to senior government officials, regulators, and cabinet ministers. The goal is to efficiently and effectively resolve the most pressing bottlenecks delaying their proposed investments.“Accordingly, I have directed the relevant Ministers and heads of government agencies to be available to the participants at the labs to respond to their inquiries and issues”, he added.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma has said that government was set to mobilize at least $25 billion or its equivalent in Naira, in private investments.“Our aim is, simply put, to raise the level of productivity in Nigeria. We want more things to be grown in Nigeria. We want more things to be processed and manufactured in Nigeria. We want more jobs to be created in Nigeria. That is what the focus labs are all about.

“We will be having various economic agents (public and private) including industry leaders, subject matter experts, domestic and international funding agencies etc. interfacing in the labs to find practical solutions to the issues raised, breakdown silos, ensure alignments and secure commitment for financing and implementation.“The Labs are workshop-style arrangements with intense open debates and an “all hands-on deck” approach and with a number of syndications to arrive at radical, practical and innovative solutions.

On the target, he said: “We are targeting to mobilize at least $25 billion or its equivalent in Naira, in private investments and about 240 projects have so far been screened for the labs. Many have asked whether we are not being too ambitious in targeting $25 billion.

“My answer is that we have no choice. We actually need multiples of $25 billion or its equivalent in Naira, of new investments to create enough jobs to address the high unemployment rate in the country.

“So, we will not stop after the first set of labs, we will hold more labs and we shall keep on addressing all constraints to investments, until we achieve the goals we have set for ourselves,” he said.

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