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We’re committed to diversification of Nigeria’s economy – Budget Minister

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma has said that the Federal government is committed to the diversification of the country’s economy away from dependence on oil and gas.

Udoma said this while delivering the keynote address at the 42nd Annual Conference Dinner of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN) in Lagos said steps are being taken by the government towards expanding exports of locally produced goods and services.

According to him, the ultimate aim is to reduce our current dependence on crude oil for most of our foreign exchange receipts.

He explained that the present administration at inception met an “economy in serious decline and took decisive measures to revive the economy,” including the adoption of an expansionary fiscal budget in 2016, adding that the move helped to reflate the economy and stimulate economic activity.

The 2016 Budget was underpinned by a Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP), consisting of a series of short-term measures aimed at boosting economic activities to restore confidence.

The SIP was followed, after extensive consultations with all segments of society, with the development of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017 – 2020, launched by the President in April, last year.

Speaking on the theme ‘Exploring the diversification agenda towards the emergence of a resilient economy,’ the Minister was happy to note that the theme of the conference aligns entirely with the aims and objectives of the ERGP.

This, he said, is because the ERGP was launched with the objective of, firstly, leading Nigeria out of recession and after that, placing the economy on the path of growth that is diversified, inclusive and most importantly sustainable and resilient.

In line with government’s commitment towards expanding exports of locally produced goods and services as well as the implementation of some critical aspects of the Plan, he said a National Committee on Export Promotion (NCEP) has started implementing the Zero Oil Plan (ZOP) as set out in the ERGP.

The NCEP, the Minister said, is working in close collaboration with the State Governments to promote the establishment of Domestic Export Warehouse and Aggregation Centres in each of the six geopolitical zones of the country.

“Government is also reactivating the Export Expansion Grant (EEG) Scheme and the Export Development Fund (EDF) Scheme, with the sum of N13.28 billion provided in the 2018 Budget.”

He pointed out that the ERGP aims to expand and increase private sector investment. “We have therefore prioritized improvements in the business climate to make Nigeria an attractive place for business to be conducted.”

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