• Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Buhari stops purchase of vehicles as part of cost-saving measures

Buhari broadcast

President Muhammadu Buhari has stopped the purchase of vehicles, as part of cutting expenditures on none essential goods to reduce the cost of governance.

This is part of the NESP  recently approved by the Federal Executive Council FEC  which is targeting a reduction in average production costs of crude oil.

A presidency statement said the Integrated Personnel and Payment Information System (IPPIS) will be expanded to cover all Federal Government MDAs. Non-critical and administrative capital spending will be eliminated, including the purchase of vehicles (except for ambulances, fire-fighting vehicles, and other essentials).

This is just as the  Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP), approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on June 24, has also targetted development of nothing less than 100,000 hectares of agricultural land within the next 12 months.

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A document released by Presidency on Thursday revealed that the NESP has been developed as a 12-month, 2.3 Trillion Naira ‘Transit’ Plan between the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and the successor plan to the ERGP, which is currently in development.

The Plan was developed to respond robustly and appropriately to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic

It has also developed other fiscal measures to enhance oil and non-oil government revenues and reduce non-essential spending, including a financial stimulus package for the Nigerian economy,

Under the mass agriculture plan,  Presidency said the “Plan intends to ensure the cultivation of between 20,000 and 100,000 hectares of new farmland in every State, as well as support offtake and agro-processing, with low-interest credit. This will create millions of direct and indirect job opportunities.

The NESP is expected to be funded from a 500 billion Naira Federal government account, 1.1 trillion Naira from the CBN in the form of structured lending, 334 billion Naira from external bilateral/multilateral sources and an N302.9 billion from other funding sources

Presidency said the  plan will  promote local production, local services, local innovation, and the use of local materials, in line with the Mandate of Presidential Executive Order 5 of 2017, on the Promotion of Nigerian Content in Contracts and Science, Engineering and Technology, and also based on President Buhari’s mantra to “produce what we eat and consume what we produce.”

As part of ensuring liquidity, preventing business collapse, and staving off the worst impact of a potential recession, the  NESP recommended labour intensive programmes in key areas like housing, roads, agriculture, facility maintenance, and direct labour interventions – all heavily utilising local materials.

The NESP is also expected to extend protection to vulnerable groups, including women, and persons living with disabilities. It will also cater to the sectors of the economy that have been worst hit by the pandemic.

“A minimum of 1,000 young Nigerians will be recruited per local government into what will be the largest public works programme in the history of Nigeria, amounting to 774,000 direct jobs. There will also be an extensive focus on the construction and repair of major and rural roads using locally available materials like limestone, cement, and granite. The roads component will include the acceleration and expansion of the scope of the Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme (RITCS).

Under the Mass Housing Plan MHP, the NESP will deliver up to 300,000 homes every year, with professionals and artisans organised into small and medium scale co-operative businesses within the construction industry to develop these houses, which will be based on a set of standardized designs.
“This programme will also prioritize the use of local labour and materials. Doors, windows, and other materials will be produced, finished, or assembled at mass housing construction sites.

“This targets 5 million households, serving about 25 million individual Nigerians who are currently not connected to the National Grid. Solar equipment manufacturers will be required to set up production facilities in Nigeria, to provide the materials required.

“This will be done through a special intervention fund, as well as by tapping into an existing World Bank facility (REDISSE Programme), to support COVID-19 interventions in the States.

“This will take the form of low-interest loans, and the easing of procedures for registration, licensing, obtaining permits, etc. Mechanics, tailors, artisans, petty traders, and all other informal business people will be supported to grow their businesses.

“This will take the form of payroll support to designated sectors so that they can keep their employees and help maintain jobs, and also loan restructuring and a moratorium for existing debt. Also, low-interest loans to boost local manufacturing and production across critical sectors, including but not limited to the pharmaceutical, aviation, hotels and the hospitality industry, private schools, road transportation, technology companies, and the creative industry, amongst others. A Guaranteed Offtake Scheme for MSMEs will function by making the government a key purchaser of specific priority products made by MSMEs, like PPE, face masks, face-shields, processed food, pharmaceuticals, etc.

Underpinning the implementation of the NESP will be a focus on the digital identification of every Nigerian. It is imperative that every Nigerian has a unique digital identity. The Public Works Programmes for example will, apart from the focus on providing employment, also help advance the financial inclusion and digital identification agenda. Broadband connectivity will also receive a boost, helping to create jobs and opportunities, especially for young people. Also, a national programme will be launched to identify and create job opportunities in digital outsourcing.

The implementation of the NESP will see an increase in the number of cash transfer beneficiaries, N-Power volunteers, and sundry traders enjoying small and microloans through the MarketMoni and TraderMoni schemes. The pre-existing conditional cash transfer will also be extended to cover a larger number of extremely poor and vulnerable Nigerians.

The NESP will also target a reduction in the average production costs of crude oil. Also, the Integrated Personnel and Payment Information System (IPPIS) will be expanded to cover all Federal Government MDAs. Non-critical and administrative capital spending will be eliminated, including the purchase of vehicles (except for ambulances, fire-fighting vehicles, and other essentials).

The NESP offers opportunities for State Governments to collaborate with the Federal Government on Affordable Mass Housing, Agriculture, Off-Grid Power Projects, and other projects in the Plan. It also provides for the negotiation of suspension of ISPO payments by States, the moratorium on deductions in respect of bailout loans, and encourages States to attain the conditions outlined by SIFTAS and other World Bank programmes, in order to access external support.

The ESC will also monitor implementation of the Plan while the Vice President will regularly brief the President on progress made.