Budget and National Planning Minister, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma has reassured Nigerians and the International Community that the Country will achieve economic stability and will exit economic recession in 2017.
Giving the assurance in his office in Abuja when he received in audience, an eleven-man team of the National Executive Council of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors led by its President Mrs. Mercy Iortyer who paid the Minister a courtesy call, Senator Udoma emphasized that the 2017 budget is designed to achieve stability, get the country out of economic recession, and set the platform for economic growth in the coming years.
According to the Minister, the thrust of the Federal Government’s recovery plan is to diversify the economy, strengthen the agricultural production base and its value chain in order to achieve self sufficiency in food production, intensify infrastructural development, create the enabling environment for manufacturing, create jobs, stabilize and strengthen the value of the Naira.
Explaining further, the minister said Government is prioritizing infrastructural development, which is evident in the 2017 budgetary allocations especially for road construction, airports rehabilitation, as well as power and rail infrastructure.
Giving the background to the current economic situation, the Minister said the collapse of oil prices in the International market and disruption in Nigeria’s crude production resulted in the country slipping into recession.
The Minister however said that the Nigerian Government was developing a Recovery and Growth Plan aimed at getting the country out of recession.
Senator Udoma was optimistic that the wide consultation his Ministry had undertaken with Governors of the 36 states of the Federation, the National Assembly, Ministers, the private sector and the International community among others in the development of the National Economy Recovery and Growth Plan (NERGP) will also provide a veritable template for the implementation of the 2017 budget.
The Minister reaffirmed his commitment to continue to work closely with the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, particularly in the areas of capacity building, costing of government projects, sustained monitoring and evaluation to ensure that Government, achieves value for money in the implementation of her National development plans.
Speaking earlier, President of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity surveyors, Mrs. Mercy Iortyer told the Minister that the Institute clearly identifies and stands ready to collaborate with the Ministry of Budget and National Planning in the areas of prudent costing of projects, budget tracking, monitoring and evaluation as well as post-contract auditing, all aimed at ensuring that government gets value for money.
The President of the institute told the Minister that improper costing of projects is partly responsible for variations, delayed implementation and sometimes outright abandonment.
Mrs. Iortyer congratulated the Minister for bringing innovations to bear on the budgeting process, especially on the zero based budget system, which has seen through two successive budgets, namely the 2016 and 2017 Annual National Budgets amidst dwindling revenue and other economic and national challenges.
Ben. Bem Goong