The Senate has resolved to engage the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed on the outcome of Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017 – 2020.
The resolution followed the adoption of a motion by Sen. Suleiman Kwari (APC- Kaduna) on the need to critically assess the performance of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020, at Tuesday’s plenary.
Presenting the motion, Kwari said the ERGP which served as a guide document for Nigeria’s four years appropriations had elapsed.
According to him, President Muhammadu Buhari launched the Plan in April 2017 to ensure realisation of sustainable and inclusive growth of the economy.
“The plan was targeted at achieving a structural economic transformation with emphasis on improving efficiency of both the public and private sectors of the Nigerian economy.
“Further aware that the key objectives of the plan were to increase our national productivity, achieve a sustainable diversification of production, significantly grow our economy by 7 per cent by the year 2020, maximise the welfare of our citizens and attain food and energy security.
“Am worried that the four-year plan, which has now elapsed cannot be said to have met our desired socio-economic aspiration.
“I believe that there is need for stock taking to critically assess the performance of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan in order to ascertain whether the Plan has met the desired goals now that it has technically come to an end.
“It is imperative to benchmark the implementation outcomes of the Plan in terms of the following indices to determine: real growth in the agricultural, solid minerals and energy sectors of the economy; SMEs growth as laid out in the plan and positive impact on our industries and manufacturing sectors,” he said.
He decried the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the world economy and its effects on the Nigerian economy that had adversely affected implementation of the plan in 2020.
He said it was the constitutional duty of the National Assembly to assess the performance of budget as against the line items and objectives of the ERGP.
Contributing, Sen.Abdullahi Ibrahim Gobir (APC- Sokoto), said the assessment was imperative to determine whether or not Nigeria had made progress or failed in terms of growing the economy.
“We have to look at the economic team, how qualified are they to monitor some of these projects. If they are not qualified, we remove them and then bring qualified people.
“Because the federal government cannot have a plan for four years and yet we cannot have information about whether that plan has failed or succeeded. I think we have to find out some of these issues,” he said.
The Deputy Chief Whip of Senate, Sen. Aliyu Abdullahi (APC-Niger) said the issue of national planning should always be in the front burner.
“Attempts in the past to have a very concise national planning framework have always met with some level of either policy flip-flop or instability.
“Let me say that the ERGP which was meant to be operated for four years was actually coming on the heels of the recession we suffered in 2016 and I think the ERGP was packaged bearing in mind the issues that led to that recession.
“Having operated that from 2017 till date, let’s not forget that government came up with what it called, Economic Sustainability Plan and I think, the national assembly played a critical role in how these plans were packaged, bearing in mind that the ERGP was not going to perform the functions it was meant to do,” he said.