The chairman of the Economic Sustainability Committee (ESC) saddled with the duty of driving the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP), Prof Yemi Osinbajo, recently met President Muhamnadu Buhari to brief him on the progress made so far by ESC on the implementation of NESP. EDET UDOH reports.
The Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP) was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on June 24, 2020. The plan was developed by the Economic Sustainability Committee (ESC) established by President Muhammadu Buhari on March 30, 2020.
The ESC chaired by the vice president, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, also comprised several cabinet ministers as well as the group managing director of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The NESP was developed in consultation with ministers, heads of federal agencies, the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC), state governors and the National Assembly. It 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 and to be funded as follows: 500 billion naira from Special FGN Accounts; 1.1 trillion naira from the CBN in the form of structured lending; 334 billion naira from external bilateral/multilateral sources and 302.9 billion from other funding sources.
Principles guiding the initiative
The design and implementation of NESP is driven by Local Content and Self Reliance. The plan promotes 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. It is also based on President Buhari’s mantra to produce what we eat and consume what we produce.
On economic stimulation, it ensures liquidity, preventing business collapse, and staving off the worst impact of a potential recession.
On job preservation and creation, the NESP recommends carrying labour intensive programmes in key areas like housing, roads, agriculture, facility maintenance and direct labour interventions – all heavily utilising local materials and pro-poor/vulnerable focus. The NESP will 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.
Terms of reference
The terms of reference guiding the ESC on the implementation of the NESP include amongst others development of a plan that responds robustly and appropriately to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, identification of fiscal measures to enhance oil and non-oil government revenues and reduce non-essential spending, creation of a financial stimulus package for the Nigerian economy, articulation of specific measures to support the 36 states and the FCT and very importantly, support for MSMEs and the creation of jobs.
NESP’s three months scorecard
The chairman of ESC, Prof Osinbajo, SAN on Tuesday, January 5, 2021 in his office, during the group’s first official meeting, updated President Muhammadu Buhari on the progress recorded so far in the implementation of NESP. He briefed the president on the implementation of different components of the plan in the past three months namely, MSMEs Survival Fund; Social Housing Scheme and Solar Home System, among others, adding that Nigerians across different sectors have been impacted.
MSMEs survival fund
For the Payroll Support track of the Survival Fund, a total of 277,628 beneficiaries drawn from 56,575 businesses have now been paid. This total number includes the batch of 20,614 beneficiaries that were recently paid for October and 257,014 beneficiaries that were paid for November and December.
A breakdown of the 257,014 beneficiaries shows that N30, 000 each was paid to 222,466 beneficiaries as at November and December payments while N50,000 each was paid to 34,548 beneficiaries as at November and December salaries.
Out of the total number, three per cent are beneficiaries with special needs, while 43 per cent are female employees/beneficiaries.
Meanwhile, the enumeration of prospective beneficiaries for the Transport Support Track, which was launched in December 2020, is still ongoing. And payment of N30, 000 one-time grant to 333,000 artisans across the country is in progress with payments already made to verified beneficiaries in states under streams 1, 2, and 3, comprising FCT, Lagos, Ondo, Kaduna, Borno, Kano, Bauchi, Anambra, Abia, Plateau and Delta (under stream 1); Taraba, Adamawa, Bayelsa, Edo, Ogun, Ekiti, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Enugu, and Ebonyi (under stream 2); Akwa-Ibom, Cross River, Zamfara, Yobe, Sokoto, Nasarawa, Niger, Imo, Oyo, Osun, Jigawa, Gombe and Benue (under stream 3).
Solar Home System Scheme
The process of installation of the N140 billion Solar Home System that will cover up to five million households, serving about 25 million individuals in rural areas and urban communities has begun with the enlistment of solar assembling companies and components manufacturers as well as solar servicing firms. Under the scheme, the CBN would make available funds to private companies involved in the manufacture, installation, servicing of the solar systems at rates ranging between 5 to 10 percent.
An important aspect of the scheme is the option of outright ownership by beneficiaries at a cost ranging from N1, 500 per week to N4, 000 monthly depending on the capacities, for a period of 3 years.
Social housing programmes
The plan by the federal government to support 1.5 million Nigerians to acquire low-cost houses under the Social Housing Programme of the ESP is on course as the portal for application by prospective beneficiaries was launched in December 2020 alongside the prototype 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom units. During a recent visit to the completed model houses in Dei Dei at the Federal Capital Territory, Prof Osinbajo reiterated the FG’s commitment to deliver decent and affordable accommodation that would be within the reach of many Nigerians.
The plan is to have a Rent to Own option as part of the Buhari administration’s resolve to impact the common man in the social housing scheme expected to also generate 1.8m jobs and deliver houses to about 1.5m Nigerian families.Already, sites for early start projects have been identified in all the 6 geo-political zones in addition to the FCT.
The sites include those in Ekiti and Ogun in the South-west; Enugu and Abia in the South-east; Delta and Edo in the South-south; Yobe and Bauchi in the North-east; Kaduna and Katsina in the North-west and Nasarawa and Plateau in the North-central. Sites have also been identified in Abuja.
To kickstart the Social Housing Projects, the CBN has already committed to a N200 billion facility with a guarantee by the FG via the Ministry of Finance. The implementing agency, Family Homes Fund Ltd, an agency under the Federal Ministry of Finance has already mobilised thousands of cooperatives groups across the country who would participate in the Social Housing Plan as the main warehouse agents and mobilise low-income buyers. For instance, FHF met recently with 93 Cooperative Leaders from the six geographical zones under the aegis of the Co-Operatives Federation of Nigeria.
VP’s meeting with North-east humanitarian hub team
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In another development, during a virtual meeting on Tuesday with management of the North East Humanitarian and Innovation Hub (NEHIH), Prof Osinbajo pledged the support of the federal government and the National Economic Council (NEC) towards the establishment of a Social Innovation and Research Institute (SIRI), an initiative of NEHIH aimed at developing skills and building capacity for social innovation.
In a statement by his media aide, Mr Laolu Akande, the vice president noted that the idea of establishing a centre for social innovation as conceived by NEHIH was good, emphasizing that, “I don’t think there is enough attention being paid to the local needs of social innovation. I really think that this proposed institute can do enough in terms of capacity building and leveraging on ideas. And also making a lot of the innovations relevant to our demands and needs here in Nigeria.”
Prof Osinbajo added that, “Part of the work I think SIRI might end up doing is in looking at our peculiar humanitarian condition because the humanitarian condition that we find ourselves in Nigeria is enormous, a huge one. “So, there is an opportunity here to teach the rest of the world how to deal with this especially from the point of view of education of children in conflict situations and even entrepreneurship in conflict situations.”
Other participants at the meeting include the coordinator of the hub, Mr Ahmad Moddibo, the SIRI project coordinator at the hub, Nguveren Mary, among others.