Need for transparency in N2.3 trn Economic Sustainability Plan | Dailytrust

Need for transparency in N2.3 trn Economic Sustainability Plan

Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo
Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday emphasised the urgency of implementation of the country’s N2.3 trillion Economic Sustainability Plan aimed at creating five million jobs.

The vice president in a paper titled ‘The Urgency of Now,’ presented at the First Year Ministerial Performance Review Retreat organised for ministers, permanent secretaries and top government functionaries, said the federal government has commenced the implementation of the N2.3 trillion stimulus package in order to address the economic distortions and hardship caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

A breakdown of how the funds will be executed shows that N152.4 billion is for solar projects that will power five million homes, covering 25 million Nigerians and creating 250,000 jobs; N217.3 billion for building 300,000 mass housing units that will create 1.5 million jobs; N52 billion for public works for the controversial 774,000 jobs programme, and N100 billion budgeted to create half a million Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) jobs.

Osinbajo urged the ministers and relevant stakeholders to expedite action on the plan, stating that “everything that we are doing has to be done immediately. We are already in ‘Day 67’ since the plan. Nothing is going to happen by magic, we have to simply do this stuff.

“We got to ensure that we have the money and ensure that day by day, we are measuring our achievements and trying to ensure that we do the things that we need to do. And we simply are not favoured by time, every single day the poverty situation and the economic distortions deepen.

“Everybody recognises that the only way out of this particular problem is to ensure that we fund production, enable consumer spending so that people can go and buy things, and we have to put money in people’s hands.”

If this programme works, at least 4 million farmers would positively be affected such that the anchor farmers, who are big farmers, would engage several thousands of farmers and they ensure that these farmers have all of their requirements and they guarantee the offtake of their produce.

For the 300,000 Mass Housing Programme, the prices would not exceed N2 million under the models in Borno State by the Family Homes Fund.

Vice President Osinbajo explained that the funds for this mass housing projects are expected to come from the N217 billion structured loans of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

He added that with the estimated1.5 million doors, 1.8 million windows, 7.8 million hinges for the homes, local industries will blossom while people get the jobs and the experience that they require for sustainable living.

The vice president spoke glowingly of the support for MSMEs including the Survival Fund, which is the Payroll Support and the Guaranteed Offtake and registration of new businesses, which will benefit 100,000 SMEs and sustain 300,000 jobs.

Osinbajo said that it is imperative that the economic stimulus plan is fully implemented, adding that this is the only way of correcting the distortions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The elements of the Economic Sustainability Plan are laudable. But the worry is that this is not the first time that the federal government relief plans have been launched. The challenge for this stimulus plan is whether the government has the political will to implement it as Nigeria has witnessed many stimulus programmes that were implemented poorly. This must not be so. So, while we support the execution of the plan, the government must brace up and ensure that this is not poorly handled.

The time we are in demands greater transparency, inclusiveness and urgency. Nigerians expect full implementation of specific programmes under this plan even though we are not known for prowess in doing so. But the future must start now as the federal government should ensure that the execution of the economic stimulus plan must not be hidden under an opaque cover.

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