RECESSION: FG targets N21trn from agric, releases Economic Recovery Plan

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By Babajide Komolafe, Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief; Chris Ochayi & Grace Udofia •N2.5 mbpd oil production •125 new Almajiri, Nomadic schools •Silent on electricity target •Domestic debt: FG to borrow N2.85trn by mid 2017 ABUJA—THE Federal Government, yesterday, released its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, with a view to restore macro-economic stability and driving various sectors towards achieving the nation’s full economic potentials.
The core vision of the plan is sustained inclusive growth through structural economic transformation, with emphasis on improving both public and private sectors’ efficiency in order to increase national productivity and achieve sustainable diversification of production. The document, released yesterday by the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, read:  “The Plan envisages that by 2020, Nigeria would have made significant progress towards achieving structural economic change with a more diversified and inclusive economy. “Overall, the Plan is expected to deliver on five key broad outcomes, namely: A stable macro-economic environment, agricultural transformation and food security, sufficiency in energy (power and petroleum products), improved transportation infrastructure and industrialization, focusing on small and medium scale enterprise.” Agriculture In the agriculture sector, the federal government’s policy objectives are to: Increase agriculture GDP from N16.0 trillion in 2015 to N21.0 trillion in 2020 at an average annual growth rate of 6.92 per cent (2017-2020). The Federal Government also plans to “significantly reduce food imports and become a net exporter of key agricultural products, e.g., rice, tomatoes, vegetable oil, cashew nuts, groundnut, cassava, poultry, fish, livestock” and become self-sufficient in tomato paste (by 2017), rice (by 2018), and wheat (by 2019/2020). Manufacturing Manufacturing accounted for 9.5 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP in 2015. In the 2010-2015 period, the sector grew at an average annual growth rate of 13.3 per cent, almost three times the 4.8 per cent growth experienced by 2016. The ERGP seeks to improve this performance and double manufacturing’s share of GDP, largely by developing Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to attract manufacturing away from economies where the labour cost advantage is declining and re-energize local industries that have suffered as a result of the influx and dumping of goods in Nigeria. The ERGP will build on the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP), a key pillar of the country’s industrial policy, focusing on agro-business, solid minerals and metals, oil and gas; as well as, construction, light manufacturing services. Solid minerals Solid minerals is one of Nigeria’s most promising growth sectors. Although its overall contribution to GDP growth is small, its contribution to GDP doubled from N52 billion in 2010 to N103 billion in 2015. Nigeria has 44 known types of minerals of varying mixes and proven quantities, some of which are concentrated in certain regions. Consequently, the administration has planned to grow solid minerals GDP from N103 billion (2015) to N141 billion (2020) at an average annual growth rate of 8.54 per cent (2017-2020). It also wants to facilitate the production of coal to fire power plants and integrate artisanal miners into the formal sector. It also plans to produce geological maps of the entire country by 2020 (on a scale of 1:100,000) and encourage and promote mineral processing and value addition industries that strengthen backward and forward linkages.
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Oil Restore oil production to 2.2 mbpd in 2017, increase it to 2.5 mbpd by 2020 and make the nation self sufficient in refining petroleum products not only to fully meet domestic consumption needs, but also become a net exporter by 2020. The government also plans to expand domestic gas production to meet power generation and manufacturing demand, while promoting Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) for domestic use. In order to achieve these, the Federal Government said it would conclude the total liberalization of the downstream sub-sector of the petroleum industry. It said it would implement a new business model for the inefficient refineries which have gulped several millions of dollars in Turn-Around-Maintenance and have failed to achieve desired goals over several decades. The administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo had privatised some of the refineries when all efforts at turn-around maintenance failed. However, the Late President Umaru Yar’Adua reversed the sale, as part of his first policy decision in government. We  need $3 trillion investments in infrastructure in 30 years- FG Unveiling the ERGP, the Federal Government also said the nation’s infrastructure needed over $3 trillion investment in the next 30 years. The Federal Government is also considering plans to borrow up to $30 billion to meet its share of funds to build the Mambilla hydro-power plant and other critical projects within the period under review. The document stated:  “To optimize the contribution of all these sectors, Nigeria needs to invest $3 trillion in infrastructure over the next 30 years. “The Federal Government cannot provide these resources all by itself. It will be leveraging private sector capital in a variety of ways such as public-private partnerships, special purpose vehicles, investment funds, and various guaranty arrangements. “In these arrangements, government does have a key role to play; accordingly, the Federal Government plans to borrow up to $30bn over the Plan period to meet its share of funds to build the Mambilla hydropower plant, and priority segments of the Coastal Railway, the Lagos-Kano Railway and the Abuja Mass Transit Rail line. “In addition, it will also be making strategic use of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, which is home to the national sovereign wealth fund.” Power The Federal Government was silent on the target of power it plans to deliver to the Nigerian public, under the ERGP. It said:  “Today, Nigeria has 12.5 GW of installed capacity, but less than one-third is operational (average 3.9 GW in 2015; 3.2 GW in November 2016). Overall, only about 15 per cent of installed capacity is eventually distributed to end users, resulting in a huge shortage of electricity supply across the country. “The ERGP will address problems in the power value chain by overcoming governance, funding, legal, regulatory, and pricing constraints across the four main segments in the power value chain (gas supply, generation, transmission and distribution). The Federal Government will also invest in transmission infrastructure.” The government itemised policy objectives of the plans to include: “Improve energy efficiency and diversify the energy mix, including through greater use of renewable energy, to facilitate private sector investment in generation, transmission, and distribution and to improve access to electricity to all Nigerians. “Increase rural electrification through the use of off-grid renewable solutions, restore financial viability in the electricity market, implement a data-driven approach in power sector development planning and eliminate sabotage of gas and power infrastructure.”
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On the strategy to be deployed to achieve this goal, the document explained that the Federal Government was determined to increase power generation by optimizing operational capacity, encouraging small-scale projects, and pursuing long-term capacity. The key activities are to optimize the existing installed capacity available for generation under the guide of the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing. To restore lost gas supply through the Gas Flare Commercialization Programme and to produce strategy towards elimination of gas infrastructure vandalism and to be guided by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources. It also plans to complete major gas infrastructure lines to plants and main trunk lines to facilitate gas supply for power generation, improve NBET’s financial capability to support the electricity market and strengthen governance and capacity of sector agencies. Introduce strategy for capital market and banking programmes that ensure all upstream industry operators get paid for each contract as well as review the gas pricing structure to recover all prudent costs as services improve and give willing developers access to under-developed gas resources amongst others. FG to build 125 schools for Almajirai, nomads The Federal government also declared its intention to build 125 day and boarding Almajirai and nomadic education-based schools as part of its social investment under the ERGP In its ERGP the federal government also said it would prioritize education for girls, Almajirai and infrastructure development. According to the plan, special schools for girls would be constructed in 13 pilot states and 501 classrooms blocks across the states. This will be in addition to 125 day and boarding Almajirai and nomadic education-based schools. Part of the strategies aimed at revamping the education system as indicated in the report is by strengthening the quality assurance of education. This includes: To review and restructure the education curriculum in line with international best practices; improve the capacity of Federal, State and local quality assurance inspectorates; fully implement the Secondary School Quality Assurance Programme, ensure regular statutory visits and monitoring of Federal tertiary institutions and help schools develop strategies to eradicate examination malpractices. In the report, the government disclosed that the plan will also review and restructure the management and funding arrangements for unity schools. As to how they will achieve this, the report states that the government will partner with State governments and the private sector to establish best-in-class vocational and technical institutes, develop incentive programmes to encourage private sector and State investment in model technical and vocational education institutes, facilitate access to funding and land with a view to enrolling approximately 500,000 students at the end of the Plan period in technical schools,  revive and support new Post-Secondary School Trade Centres and technical schools, as well s, introduce Post-University Skills Development Institutions ,PUSDIs.
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