The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Mr. Ernest Umakhihe on Wednesday, July 3, 2019 in Abuja inaugurated the Joint Planning Committee (JPC) for the 25th Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) with a mandate to deliver a Summit that does not only meet its expectations and achieve set objectives, but promote and support the actualization of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) as well as the programmes articulated in the NESG.
He said the key mandate of the JPC is to undertake all preparatory arrangements for the successful hosting of the Summit. The Summit is scheduled for October 2019.
The Permanent Secretary explained that the Annual Nigerian Economic Summit is the premier public-Platform for dialogue between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the private sector, jointly organized by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning and the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG).
The other members representing the Public Sector on the committee will be officials of the Presidency; Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Federal Ministry of Finance, Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Office of the Inspector General of Police, Nigerian Investment Promotion Council, Budget Office of the Federation, Central Bank of Nigeria and Nigeria Governors Forum.
The Terms of Reference for the Joint Planning Committee (JPC) include:
1. Review the report of the 24th Economic Summit
2. Make all arrangements for the successful hosting of the 25th Nigerian Economic Summit (NES#25) as well as the Programme of events and timelines for the implementation of the Key activities of the Summit;
3. Articulate the Budgetary requirements and the sources of funds for hosting the summit
4. Propose the optimal strategy for funding the activities of the JPC;
5. Prepare Green book which is the Main report for the NES#25; within two months of completion of the summit
6. Mobilize relevant public and private sector stakeholders for the summit especially at the Federal, State and Local Government levels; and
7. Undertake any other work that may lead to the successful hosting of the summit.
The Joint Planning Committee (JPC), he explained will work under coordination of the private sector, represented by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group and the public sector, represented by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning.
The JPC will oversee the various Sub-committees that would be set up during the preparation process as well as supervise the operations of the NES Secretariat. The committee is also responsible for following up on the implementation of the recommendations of the Summit through the various Policy Commissions of NES.
Urging all members to bring their vast experience to bear on this assignment, especially for an Anniversary Summit such as this, the Permanent Secretary pointed out that the key outcomes of the annual summits have always played important roles in shaping the policies of Government. In particular, the Summit had in the past Contributed to entrenching the culture of development planning in the country including contributions to the development of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
He enjoined them to sustain the momentum going forward, particularly at this point in the developmental efforts of the present Administration.
The Chief Executive Officer of the NESG, Mr. Laoye Jaiyeola said the Summit has turned out to be a credible platform for interrogating and understanding our national economic policy direction and economic growth strategies with a view to addressing challenges, and also stated that the efficacy of public/ private partnerships exemplified by the Summit platform in our country was enshrined 25years ago to promote public private dialogue towards accelerated national development.
He said that the 25 years of the NESG, has made impact on the Nigerian business climate and the economy at large.
According to Mr. Laoye, the Contributory pension Scheme, Power sector Reforms, Agriculture sector Reforms as well as the need for a long term vision for the country, among others were all conceived during the summit.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, at the 2019 Budget Breakdown Session in Abuja on Tuesday told Nigerians to be hopeful of a brighter future as the seeds of development planted in the last four years are germinating and soon will be bearing fruits.
While acknowledging the patience of Nigerians and the contributions of critical stakeholders like the National Assembly, the Media and other partners, to the development efforts of government, Senator Udoma explained that an economy usually take some time to build up momentum after a period of recession.
He added however that all indices point to the direction of positive growth and the dividends will soon manifest with greater impact as government continues to faithfully implement the provisions of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), which underpins government’s economic recovery actions.
The Minister pointed to the fact that already the macro-economy has remained largely stable and growth has increased from 0.82% in 2017 to 1.93% in 2018 and 3.01% is expected in 2019, with the continuing implementation of the ERGP. “Real GDP increased from 1.89% in Q1 of 2018 to 2.01% in the first quarter of 2019 - the strongest first quarter growth since 2015; Significant growth has been recorded in the non-oil sector: 2.47% growth in Q1 2019, up from 0.76% in Q1 2018 and diversification efforts have continued as contribution of the non-oil sector to GDP increased from 90.4% in Q1 2018 to 90.9% in Q1 2019”.
Senator Udoma said that a lot has been done by the Buhari administration in the first four years and the second term will be focused on building on the initiatives and development efforts already put in place. “The 2019 budget is designed to further reposition the economy on the path of higher, inclusive, diversified and sustainable growth; and to continue to lift significant numbers of our citizens out of poverty”.
The 2019 budget proposal was presented to the National Assembly (NASS) by President Muhammadu Buhari on December 19, 2018; and passed by the NASS on May 9, 2019. The President signed the budget into law on Monday May 27, 2019. The total budget outlay for 2019 is N8.92 trillion.
According to him, the 2019 Budget seeks to continue the reflationary and consolidation policies of the 2017 and 2018 Budgets respectively, which helped put the economy back on the path of growth. On the expenditure side, allocations to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of Government were guided by the three core objectives of the ERGP: Restoring and sustaining growth; Investing in our people, and Building a globally competitive economy.
Acknowledging that Nigeria faces significant challenges with respect to revenue generation, he assured that government is taking every necessary steps to tackle challenge. “Key reforms will be implemented with increased vigour to improve revenue collection and expenditure management. Mr. President is committed, and has directed that all measures necessary be taken to ensure that we grow rapidly while maintaining fiscal sustainability. To ensure that this happens, the President set up a Projects and Programmes Committee which has concluded its work. The initiatives developed by this committee will be rolled out as the President enters his second term.”
Government, he said, will continue to create the enabling environment for the private sector to increase investment so as to increase productivity, create jobs and stimulate further growth.
To continue to fund the budget, the Minister said apart from initiatives in other sectors, the Federal Government has also sustained its efforts to improve public financial management through the comprehensive implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA), the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) and the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS). The President has also directed that work should be concluded on the deployment of the National Trade Window and other technologies to enhance Customs collections efficiency.
Speaking on the adjustments made by the National Assembly, he said:
· Executive revenue assumptions were generally approved and adopted by NASS, except for unexplained increases totalling N31.5 billion on some non-oil revenue lines.
· NASS increased the budget size from N8.83 trillion to N8.92 trillion, translating to an increase of N90.33 billion
· This has resulted in an overall increase of N58.83 billion in deficit. Inexplicably, NASS reduced the proposed borrowing from N1.649 trillion to N1.605 trillion, thus creating an overall unfunded deficit of N102.83 billion. To fully fund the budget, the level of borrowing may therefore have to increase.
· Allocations for some executive projects based on critical appraisal and linked to the ERGP were reduced and a large number of new projects, mainly constituency type projects, were introduced.
· Mr. President intends to engage the leadership of the ninth National Assembly, as soon as it emerges, to effect any amendments necessary to ensure he delivers on his electoral promises.
· Mr. President also intends to seek the support of the leadership of the NASS for a smoother, faster budget process going forward and their collaboration to return to a January-December fiscal year.
On the issue of unemployment, the Minister said although statistics show that unemployment and underemployment remain high in Nigeria, “we can expect reduction in the rate of unemployment as we continue to implement the policies and programmes of the ERGP, which are directed at creating more diversified and inclusive growth. Mr President has indicated that the focus of his second term will be employment generation,” he added.
Special Adviser (Media and Communication) to the Hon. Minister
The 15-member Governing Board of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) was on Thursday inaugurated in Abuja by the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma.
The Minister charged the new Board to work in harmony with the management of the Bureau to achieve its goals, especially considering the important role that the NBS plays in nation building
He pointed out that the roles and responsibilities of the Governing Boards of Parastatals and Agencies as provided in their respective establishment Acts are quite distinct from the day-to-day administration of parastatals and agencies under the leadership of Chief Executives who double as Accounting Officers.
The Minister stated that strict adherence to statutory provisions by both parties will enhance harmonious relationship devoid of bickering and other unhealthy occurrences.
The NBS is one of the three parastatals under the Ministry. The other two are the National Institute for Social and Economic Research (NISER) and the Centre for Management Development (CMD). The Governing Boards of the two institutions were inaugurated on March 8, 2018.
It would be recalled that last year, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the constitution of the Boards of some Federal Government Agencies/Parastatals to provide proper governance and oversight structure for them as well as drive general policy formulation for the implementation of their management teams.
While the boards of other parastatals were immediately inaugurated, that of NBS, which requires Senate confirmation, was postponed to await that confirmation. The approval was obtained recently.
The Minister explained that the NBS is the government agency charged with the responsibility for data generation and dissemination in Nigeria. “The agency facilitates sectoral development in updating, monitoring Nigeria’s socio-economic indicators and advises the government as well as relevant stakeholders including the public and private sectors on our social rankings, etc. Considering the important role the NBS plays in nation building, the need for a supportive Governing Board cannot be over-emphasised.”
He emphasized that the appointment of the Board members is on part-time basis. “You are required to work with the management of the NBS to, inter alia, determine its mission and long-term strategy roles and responsibilities and develop strategies to promote sustainable and cost-efficient activities of the Bureau”.
In his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mr Ernest Umakhihe, congratulated the members on their appointment, noting that the eventual inauguration has been long awaited since the Boards of two other agencies supervised by the Ministry had been done a year ago. “We are all happy because it has come at this auspicious time”.
He urged them to be focused and selfless in the discharge of their duties, and should bear in mind that the assignment is a call to the service of their fatherland.
The Chairman of the Board, Dr Kabiru Nakaura, thanked the President for the appointment and appreciated the Minister for the inauguration. He pledged the willingness of the Board to discharge its responsibilities creditably.
Two senior Presidency officials, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Affairs, Senator Ita Enang and the Senior Special Adviser to The President on Constitutional Matters, Mr Okoi Obono Obla, witnessed the inauguration.
The 15-member Governing Board comprises six political appointees and nine Institutional members. The Statistician-General of the Federation, Dr Yemi Kale will serve as Secretary/Member.
The other members are: Professor Moses Imokhai Momoh, Mr Adam Modu, Mr Akinola Idowu Bashiru, Chief Paul Nwafor Chukwudi, Mr Wallijoh Danladi Ahijoh. The institutional members are: Minister of Budget and National Planning, Governor of the Central Bank, Minister of Finance, Minister of Education, Minister of Agriculture, Group Managing Director of NNPC, President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, President of the Nigeria Statistical Association and the Chief Executive Officer of the NBS.
Special Adviser (Media & Communication) to the Hon Minister
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma has expressed hope that the country can achieve 7% GDP growth target.Senator Udoma stated this on Tuesday in Abuja during an interactive session with the press while giving an overview of the achievements of the Ministry since the inception of this administration in 2015.Udoma said, ‘’The President has indicated that he intends to stay focused on the implementation of the ERGP so as to ensure that we can achieve the 3.0 % growth target for this year. It is my hope that the seeds we are currently sowing will propel us to achieve our 7% GDP growth target in the course of Mr. Presidents’ second term".On the latest GDP numbers just released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday, the Minister said that the performance in the first quarter of 2019 is the strongest first quarter growth since 2015, as well as stating that starting the year with a GDP growth of 2.01% is encouraging because the first quarter of the year often records the slowest growth in GDP.He also said that the focus of the NEXT LEVEL agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari will be on job creation for the teeming youths of Nigeria.He highlighted a number of measures the Ministry has put in place to stop the economic decline that the country faced during the early days of the Buhari administration.These Include, the introduction of an expansionary budget in the 2016 fiscal year christened the Budget of Change, development of the ERGP, implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA), the Efficiency Unit within the Ministry of Finance and the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit.Other initiatives include the Whistle Blowing Policy, the Integrated Payroll Personnel System (IPPIS) and the Investors’ and Exporters Foreign Exchange window by the Central Bank of Nigeria.According to the Minister an important strategy the Ministry embarked on in order to exit recession was to seek to reflate the economy, this according to him was why they increased the capital budget and budgetary allocations to capital expenditure- from 16.1% in 2015 to 30.2% in 2016, 31. 7 % in 2017, 31.5% in 2018 and 26% in 2019- with priority given to the key execution priorities of the ERGP.He added that the Ministry of Finance was able to release, for capital spending, the sum of 1.2 trillion under the 2016 Budget, the sum of N1.58 trillion under the 2017 budget, and as at 8th May, 2019, the sum of NI.55 trillion has been released under the 2018 Budget.He stated that the implementation of the ERGP resulted in the economy exiting recession in the second quarter of 2017 and returning subsequently to the path of growth with most economic indices showing a positive momentum.SignedVictoria Agba-AttahDirector (Information)Tuesday, May 21, 2019
At a press conference addressed jointly by the delegation leaders to the just concluded IMF/World Bank Group meetings in Washington DC on Sunday, Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, explained that the meetings presented an opportunity to share with potential investors, and development partners, President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision for an even faster growth for Nigeria in his second term, having just won re-election.
This he plans to achieve by intensifying and consolidating on the implementation of the policies and programmes of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan – the ERGP.
The delegation comprised the Finance Minister, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed; the Central Bank Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele; and the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma.
At the briefing Senator Udoma said that Nigeria stands to benefit from the interface of the country’s delegation in Washington DC as the responses from all the delegation’s engagements with the global business community have been positive and encouraging.
Among others, the Minister participated in the presentation by the IMF of the Regional Economic Outlook (REO) for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), State of the African Region, Annual Ministerial Roundtable on Social Safety Nets, a business session with some members of the US Business Community, meetings with credit and rating agencies, a meeting with officials of the International Financial Corporation (IFC), and a coalition of civil society groups, amongst others.
He said the delegation has noted the indication by the REO for Sub-Saharan Africa and the advice by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), that while economic recovery in the sub-region is expected to continue, from 3.0% GDP growth in 2018 to 3.5% in 2019 and 3.7% in 2020, more should be done to shield the recovery against risks arising from both domestic and external shocks.
At the State of the African Region, the Minister said discussions centred on the role of regional cooperation in tackling fragility in Africa. “A major takeaway was the need to pay attention to women empowerment and education of the girl child, as these have positive implications in dealing with fragility and reducing conflicts. As you know, investing in our people and the issue of girl-child education are some of the objectives of the ERGP.”
Also at the Annual Ministerial Roundtable on Social Safety Nets, Senator Udoma said discussions centred on how to improve economic opportunities and human capital, as well as social safety nets. “Here, as you know, Nigeria has a good story to tell with our annual commitment of N500 billion for our social investment programme, including our N-Power Programme, the School Feeding Programme, the Cash Transfer Programme and the Government Enterprise & Empowerment Programme (GEEP).”
Summarising his presentation to the business community at an investor lunch organised by the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), he said: “I let them know that Nigeria is set for faster growth with the re-election of Mr President; and that in his second term the President will continue with his commitment to his three-pronged programme on the basis of which he campaigned, namely: improving security, fighting corruption and reviving and growing the economy.
“With regard to the economy, I informed them that the President intends to fast track the implementation of the investor friendly policies of the ERGP, so as to generate even faster growth. In particular, I informed them that the President has set up a committee, headed by the Vice President, to produce an implementation guideline for the incoming cabinet. All three of us here i.e. the Minister of Finance, the Governor of the CBN, and myself, are members of this Committee.”
He also said that in all his presentations, he had indicated that the fundamentals of the Nigerian economy are strong and major indices are picking up including growth, foreign reserves, and exchange rate; while inflation is declining. He pointed out that all these are evidence of even greater prospects in 2019, and over the medium term.
“I also spoke about our reforms in improving the business climate, the various incentives and opportunities for investment in Nigeria which are set out in the compendium of investment incentives published by the NIPC and FIRS, amongst others”, he added.
Udoma disclosed that in the course of his meeting with officials of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), he asked for their support for government’s efforts to leverage private sector capital to fund critical infrastructure in Nigeria; as Nigeria requires private sector capital to bridge the country’s infrastructure gap, a necessity for achieving the objectives of the ERGP.
The Finance Minister, Mrs Ahmed, who was the leader of the Nigerian delegation, spoke of her various meetings with relevant IMF and World Bank organs, Central Bank Governors, credit and rating agencies, among others.
She pointed out that in her capacity as the representative of 23 African countries, she addressed the IMFC and issued a statement calling for normalization of trade relations among the contending parties as well as called for concerted efforts to support multilaterism and avoid protectionist sentiments.
Mrs Ahmed said she was encouraged by the prospects of the resolutions at the various meetings which signposts a better economic future for Nigeria and Africa.
The Central Bank Governor, Mr Emefiele also gave a summary of his engagements with the business community and the relevant organs of the World Bank Group as well as fellow Central Bank governors where they discussed and took decisions on global monetary issues and the potentials of the Nigerian economy.
In response to a question on the preparedness of the Nigeria to absorb the fallouts of BREXIT, deal or no deal, Mr Emefiele said given the trade position between the United Kingdom and Nigeria, he is not anticipating any significant effect on the Nigerian economy, deal or no deal.
Special Adviser (Media & Communication) to the Hon, Minister