As Nigeria’s highly-contested 2019 presidential election gradually approaches, there are strong indications that the electorates may decide to choose someone else (asides the incumbent), to administer the affairs of the country. Should this happen, what then would become of the President’s economic policies, particularly the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP)?
The country’s Acting Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, was asked this pertinent question on Tuesday while she participated in a plenary session at the just concluded 24thNigerian Economic Summit.
Specifically, Mrs Ahmed was asked if the current administration has any plans to cement the ERGP with any legal frameworks, order to forestall its dismantling should President Buhari lose the 2019 election.
But there is no such legal framework in place
The Minister, while answering this question, said that the Buhari Administration does not intend to institutionalise the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) because it would be needless to do so. According to her, the ERGP is by default a national plan, and she believes that any well-meaning government would be willing to further its implementation.
Speaking further, she explained that the ERGP is not an entirely new policy. Instead, it was borrowed from already-existing policies such as the Vission 2020, the Needs Assessment, and other existing sector plans. The only difference is that the ERGP was a rebranding of these already known plans, presented in a more focused and achievable manner, she said.
“The ERGP is not a new plan. We never claimed we made a new plan. It’s a plan that distilled what was in the Needs Assessment, what was in the Vission 2020; what is in existing sector plans. So, because we have taken previous plans and used them, we trust that when other administrations come onboard, they will continue with the existing one.
“Which Government would not want to continue to improve on infrastructure? Which Government would not want to ensure that agriculture continues to grow? These are what the ERGP is all about. What we have in the ERGP are no-brainers. These are things that every Government must see as a need.” -Mrs Ahmed
She concluded by saying that though other administrations can change the name and colour of the ERGP document, the priorities will always remain the same.
Meanwhile, President Buhari’s cabinet is focusing less on the 2019 election
Earlier in the course of the discussion, the Minister had disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari had mandated his cabinet members to focus more on the actualisation of the ERGP and less on electioneering campaigns ahead of the 2019 election.
This is very important because the government is focused on actually implementing the policy, she said. To this end, they decided to make use of focus labs in six sectors, whose function it is to monitor the ERGP programmes on a daily basis in order to ensure that success is actualised.