MINISTER of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, has said that the National Assembly has very important role to play in the successful implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
Speaking with members of the House of Representatives Tactical Committee on Recession who visited him in Abuja on Monday, Udoma explained that this is because achievement of the broad objectives will largely depend on execution of projects which are contained in budgets, “for which we have to work closely with the National Assembly to secure your support.”
Members of the committee were at the ministry to further discuss ways of getting the economy out of recession and reducing the economic hardship on the people as soon as possible, which are some of the core mandates of the committee.
The minister explained that the economic plan released last week by the Federal Government has a dual purpose of getting the economy out of recession and taking the country onto the path of sustainable and inclusive growth.
He pointed out that some aspects of the plan are already reflected in the 2017 Budget and that the plan is basically an exposure of what government had already started doing since inception.
“This plan puts together all the things that we have been doing, including the strategies we have already developed and launched; which is why you are already seeing progress in agriculture and other areas.
“We have exited cash calls in our joint venture relationships in the oil sector, which decision was announced last year; it is all part of the plan, so that funding of the joint ventures will no longer be a constraint, which is why in the plan also, we are targeting 2.5mbpd production of crude oil by 2020.”
Explaining why focus is still on crude oil even when government is laying emphasis on diversification into the non-oil sector, the minister said the economy will continue to rely on oil in the short term.
“We need revenue to get out of oil dependency and the fastest way to get that revenue is from oil. From the revenue we get from oil, we can invest in agriculture; we can invest in Export Processing Zones; we can invest in rail, ports, and all the things that will be needed to grow the non-oil economy.”
Responding, Chairman of the Tactical Committee, Hon Ayorinde Olabode, said the committee and the ministry can work together, since its focus is to achieve results in the five mandate areas given to the Committee by the House, within the four months’ period that it has to report back.