Recession: Think Out- Of Box, Buhari Urges Ministers …says MDAs To Get Less Allocations Than In 2016


By; SUNDAY ODE, Abuja.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday said the current economic recession in the country required out of the box solutions to steer the country on the path to recovery.
Accordingly, he urged ministers and other senior officials of government to put on their thinking cap as they sought solutions to the crisis beyond routine approach.
President Buhari also hinted that some ministries and agencies would get less allocations in the 2017 budget than they received in 2016 while others would get more.
He spoke at a one day retreat on the economy at the Presidential Villa, with the theme “Building Inter-ministerial Synergy for Effective Planning and Budgeting in Nigeria.
Buhari said the theme of the retreat was very apt and timely, especially as the government was in the process of developing the 2017 Budget.
According to him, over the years, there had been a mismatch between planned targets and budgetary outcomes at the National and sectorial levels.
President Buhari also observed that the Federal MDAs had not benefited significantly from working together and building consensus around common national objectives and this has impeded growth and development of the country.
Buhari said,”Given that this Retreat is a lead-up to the 2017 Budget, my expectation is that we will come out of the these sessions with a determination and common position on how to have improved synergy amongst the various Ministries and Departments for the effective formulation and implementation of the 2017 Budget.
“I also trust that the breakout sessions will enable you to discuss extensively amongst yourselves, the details of the four sub-themes and come up with practical solutions on the way forward in order to come out with a set of prioritized projects and programmes that will fit into the 2017 Budget.
“In this regard, let me inform you that because of the need to focus on our key priorities, some Ministries may get significantly less capital allocation than they received in 2016, while others may get significantly more.”
Buhari noted that the retreat was coming at a critical time in the nation’s economic history, when the Nigerian economy is in a recession, with significant downturn in performance in various sectors.
“It is with regard to the importance of this Retreat that I decided to sit through the first part of the session to listen to the views from experienced economists and development experts on how best to implement our plans to rid the country of its oil dependence and to diversify the economy and bring the country out of the current economic recession.”
He asserted that it was in line with his administration’s determination to lay a solid foundation for growth and development as outlined in the Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) of the Change Agenda.
According to him “You may notice that some key non-spending agencies, such as the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), the National Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) and the National Pension Commission (PENCOM), are participants at this Retreat.
He remarked that this deliberate inclusion underscored the commitment of the Administration to leverage on private sector resources, through Public Private Partnerships (PPP) and other arrangements, in order to augment the scarce budgetary resources at their disposal and to accelerate investments in building critical infrastructure.
He added: “Indeed, the challenges we face in the current recession require ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking, to deploy strategies that involve engaging meaningfully with the private sector, to raise the level of private sector investment in the economy as a whole.”
The President expressed confidence that the level of private investment would grow as his administration was determined to make it easier to do business in Nigeria by the reforms they are introducing under the auspices of the Presidential Committee on Ease of Doing Business.
He reiterated that the government would continue to strategize on how  to turn the current challenges into opportunities for the  nation and especially for vibrant youth on whose shoulders lies the future of this nation.
“This is why we have embarked on measures and actions that will open up the opportunities we have seen in the Power, Housing, Agriculture, Mining, Trade and Investment, Information Communication Technology (ICT) Sectors, Tourism, Transport and other sectors.
“I wish to reassure its teeming youth that this Government would remain steadfast in its effort to ensure greater progress and prosperity for you, he added.
While government is taking the lead in the task of repositioning the economy for Change, Buhari said his administration  cannot achieve this completely by themselves .
“We will need, and we ask for the support and cooperation of the private sector’s domestic and foreign investors, the States and Local Governments, the National Assembly and the Judiciary as well as all well-meaning Nigerians in this important task. We are confident that working together, we shall succeed.”
Buhari expressed  hope that  that the cabinet members would learn from the experiences of the Resource persons and facilitators to prioritise their sector programmes and projects to bring the country out of the current economic recession and place it on the path of growth and development.
“I therefore urge the Honourable Ministers and other senior government officials here present, to actively participate in the Second Technical Session, which I believe will provide you with deeper insight into the complex issues that will open opportunities for you to identify critical priority projects and programmes for the 2017 Budget,”
he also stated.
Speaking to State House Correspondents at the sidelines of the event, Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma noted that the federal government wanted to make sure that as a cabinet,they had the synergy and  look at the priorities for the government for the 2017 budget and make sure that in the light of the current economic situation, the budget was well structured to take the country  back on the path of growth.


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