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Minister blames stagnant growth on unimplemented NESG reports

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[FILES] Finance Minister, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed

The Minister of Finance and Budget, Mrs. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, yesterday regretted that the Federal Government had been selective in the implementation of the recommendations of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), noting that the development was responsible for the non- attainment of the nation’s development targets since 1993 when the collaboration between the public and private sectors on the matter began.

She, therefore, pledged: “Henceforth, all recommendations of the NESG would be presented to all stakeholders, namely the Federal Executive Council (FEC), the National Council of State and the relevant committees of the National Assembly so that they can be implemented country-wide.’’

This comes as she disclosed that a new 30-year development plan would be announced before the end of the year ahead of the expiration of the current Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) next year in 2020.

Unlike its predecessor that had a five-year lifespan, the new plan would cater for between 20 and 30 years with focus at ensuring the attainment of the goals and the targets to avert the pitfalls of Visions 2000, 2010 and 2020 that has been largely missed.

She said: “Shifting gears emphasises the imperative for the country to move to a more robust competitive private sector economy while discussing the implication of the projected population of the country hitting over 400 million by 2050 with 65 per cent of them under the ages of 35 years.

“In this regard, it is only a competitive private sector-led economy that will drive this process and ensure economic prosperity for all Nigerians.”

The minister was speaking at the press briefing to announce the NESG 25 yearly talk shop holding next month in Abuja.

Besides, the government said it was not adjusting its crude benchmark for the 2020 budget following the attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facility that has resulted in price rebound of the product

Ahmed disclosed this while fielding questions from reporters in regard to the new development.

The Federal Executive Council had last week said the 2020 budget would be predicated on lower oil production of 2.18 million barrels per day fixed at $55 per barrel.

In the 2019 appropriation law, the benchmark was on 2.3mbpd output at $60 per barrel.

The variations, according to the government, were done on account of an anticipatory glut.

But since the aggression on Sunday, the oil price has risen from $56 to about $71 per barrel.

But Ahmed described the attack as worrisome, adding that if a county with such a sophisticated security system could suffer this, then Nigeria might be vulnerable.


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