The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) Focus Labs scheduled to start on March 12, 2018 will focus on delivering quick and fast results to the citizens by identifying actionable projects, removing roadblocks and developing an enabling framework for the sector, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma told investors in Lagos on Thursday.
The Minister who was speaking at a sensitization luncheon with investors said the lab process is just one of the several initiatives by the Federal Government to drive the implementation of the strategic objectives of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
At the luncheon he indicated that government will be conducting focus labs in three selected areas within six sectors to deliver quick and fast results on investments and job creation. The selected areas are Agriculture and Transportation, Manufacturing and Processing; and Power and Gas.
The luncheon was organized by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning in close collaboration with the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC).
He said the labs are intended to drive new investments for critical projects and to resolve complex inter-agency problems that inhibit private sector investment. Government, he indicated, welcomes and is ready to provide assistance to investors.
He explained that the labs will specifically target the identification of projects which will increase investments and create jobs for the citizens.
Emphasising that the focus labs aim at unlocking projects with private sector funds, the Minister said the labs will seek to chart clear 3-feet implementation plans for each projects with identified budget and key performance indicators as well as alignment of stakeholders to execute the plan.
In the area of fast actionable projects, he said the labs will consider existing projects, as well as big new ideas and projects, provided that they have immediate enhancements in impact on the economy and create jobs.
The labs are meant to remove roadblocks by ensuring that all enablers for high potential projects are relieved of the encumbrances that could stall their smooth operation, and also to use projects to create showcases for development of enabling framework, he said.
The Minister pointed out that there are huge opportunities for investments in agriculture and agro- processing, manufacturing, mining, construction and services, and that investors, whether domestic or foreign, who are interested in any of these areas are invited to participate in the labs, provided they meet the minimum criteria set out in the guidelines.
He indicated that the actions to unlock value in the labs include what policy or regulatory decisions are needed, what approvals are outstanding, what infrastructure improvements must be made, what processes need to be accelerated or enhanced and what human capital requirements must be addressed.
The labs' target is to mobilize USD 25 billion in investment. One hundred and twenty six (126) potential entry point projects have already been identified, including 74 in Agriculture and Transportation, seven in Power and Gas and 45 in Manufacturing and Processing.
The Executive Secretary of NIPC, Ms Yewande Sadiku, said the Commission is glad to be associated with the project not only as a member of the labs focus group but in partnering to mobilise and sensitize the business community towards the labs' success.
Sadiku who was represented by a Director in the Commission, Hajia Ladi Katagum, said the labs will also help the Commission actualize its own mandate, as it will assist in solving some of the complex issues potential investors have been grappling with.
Special Adviser (Media) to the Hon. Minister