MRS Zainab Ahmed, Nigeria's Minister of State for Budget and National Planning says the ministry is working round the clock to ensure effective implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) so as to drive social inclusion and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
She made this known in her address at the 23rd Nigeria Economic Summit (NES23) in Abuja, with the theme: 'Deepening the governance capability for ERGP and SDG execution, an All-Government approach.' According to her, the Ministry of Budget and National Planning has incorporated and ensured policy linkages between the SDGs and the ERGP, adding that specific programmes and projects aimed at achieving the SDGS have been integrated into the 2017 national budget and will be included in future budgeting frameworks.
The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017 – 2020 is Nigeria's home-grown four-year medium term development plan, aimed at driving economic recovery, and ensuring sustainable and inclusive growth;building a globally competitive and diversified Nigerian economy. It is also geared towards investing in the Nigerian people and building strong governance institutions to drive change. The goal is to run an economy with low inflation, stable exchange rates, and diversified and inclusive growth.
Mrs Ahmed explained that government is determined to attract more private capital into the economy through effective implementation of the ERGP. “The process adopted for the development of the ERGP was highly consultative and participatory. As such, the core strategic objectives outlined in the ERGP map directly onto the 17 SDGs and targets, with a specific and direct focus on education, health, the environment, women and social inclusion, youth development, agriculture and water resources,” she said.
She added that the ERGP harps on the need for investment in the Nigerian citizens, through the development of jobs, improvement of human capital and social inclusion. The ERGP was built on the benefits of past and existing plans in critical areas such as the National Industrial Revolution Plan and the Green Alternative Agriculture Promotion Policy.
Mrs Ahmed pointed out that government recognises the need to focus on the implementation as a core delivery strategy of the ERGP. “The ministry is working to establish robust monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to systematically track implementation and measure the effectiveness of projects and programmes. The Plan also anticipates that Ministry and Agency Heads will drive delivery of ERGP strategies relevant to their sector goals, and will monitor progress towards these goals as part of their day-to-day management activities,” Ahmed said.
She said that even with the progress made so far in the implementation of the ERGP and the SDGs, the government had much work to do in terms of empowering and building the capacity of Local Governments to own the SDGs implementation process. “The ministry will continue to explore opportunities to strengthen and formalise collaboration with state and local governments, having recognised that progress at the sub-national level is key to ensuring implementation,'' she said.
Ahmed emphasized that successful implementation of the ERGP and the SDGs required a clear institutional arrangement for Results-Based Monitoring and Evaluation, through the development of State-centred economic recovery and growth plans in line with the ERGP.
The Minister, however, said that the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) with the support of the Office of Senior Special Assistant to the President (OSSAP) and development partners, had developed baseline indicators, and conducted a baseline data survey for the SDGs indicators. She said emphasis had been placed on administrative data to enhance routine data collection. “ As reflected in the feedback received by Nigeria and other countries presenting National Voluntary Reports at the United Nationals High Level Political Forum in July 2017, reliable data is critical to the successful implementation and monitoring of the SDGs,'' Ahmed said.
To further achieve the ERGP objectives and deliver on key execution priorities, she explained that interdisciplinary 'Sector Laboratories' are being established, covering three key areas in Agriculture, Energy (Petroleum and Power), and Manufacturing. In order to drive the process, four Senior Special Assistants to the President on ERGP Implementation, based in the Ministry of Budget and National Planning have been appointed.
Ahmed is upbeat that the ERGP will fast-track the implementation of SDGs in Nigeria. “Several other steps are being taken to ensure successful implementation of the ERGP and main streaming of the SDGs. Specifically, the Ministry of Budget and National Planning is currently developing an ERGP Implementation Plan. The process has involved a detailed costing and alignment of the initiatives, projects and programmes of Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies, to the primary objectives in the Plan such that government spending helps the achievement of target objectives,” she said.
The Minister exudes confidence that with the ERGP, the government is well positioned to face the challenge of driving economic recovery as the country emerges from the ravages of corruption; the devastating impact of the commodities price collapse; and the domino effect of global insecurity.