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JONATHAN CONTEMPLATES CEDING PROJECTS, POLICIES EXECUTION TO ECONOMIC TEAM

By NBF News
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To have concrete results in the next four years, President Goodluck Jonathan might be contemplating saddling the National Economic Management Team (NEMT) with the responsibilities of coordinating key developmental projects, it was learnt.

It would be recalled that President Jonathan had announced earlier in the year that he would henceforth chair the NEMT which was before now headed by finance minister with other members drawn from different sectors of the economy. A top presidency source hinted yesterday that President Jonathan was keen on driving the economy in the direction of growth and development in the first year of his four years administration and was therefore strongly in favour of charging the economic team with the supervision of major economic policies and projects of government to achieve maximum results.

According to the source, President Jonathan was determined to strengthen the nation's fiscal discipline to ensure that the available resources were utilized appropriately.'The president is concerned about the large level of the recurrent expenditure of the country and how this has crowded out investment in infrastructure and capital projects development in the last two decades,' the source said, adding that the Anya Anya committee saddled with the responsibility of reviewing the expenditure pattern had just submitted its report awaiting implementation.

'There are also plans to focus on power, reduce the infrastructure deficit and ensure that a refocused ministry drives the economic growth through enhancing the productivity of our industries and by aggressively promoting investment and trade. This means that the enabling business environment must be created.'

Explaining the reason behind the need to involve the NEMT, the source said: 'there is no one single ministry or individual that can effectively implement these laudable programme of the president within four year, so the NEMT with the president presiding and the ministers of finance and the refocused ministry for investment and economic development co-directing, the government will make great progress. This is the time for delivering the dividends of democracy to Nigerians and we know that President Jonathan is prepared to do just that. He has also started by chairing the power committee in 2010.

'What is needed now is action and something that will really bring transformation to the country, something that will bring fresh air to Nigerian and Nigerians. We are positive that President Jonathan will give Nigerians that breath of fresh air by ensuring that the economy grows in the right direction,' the source said.

The president it would be recalled had given directives to the immediate past minister of finance, Olusegun Aganga, to design some key transformational economic programmes for the government aimed at driving the economy in double-digit direction in the next four years.

Some of the key economic programmes designed by the Jonathan's administration as part of his transformation agenda are the roadmap for power, investments in petroleum products and petrochemicals, Sovereign Wealth Fund, designed as a tool for infrastructure development and wealth creation, the development and funding of critical projects in the different sectors (rail, roads, aviation, ports, power, among others) of the economy; the job creation initiatives including the provision of N50billion for public works scheme announced by the President in his budget speech in December.

The others are the development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) where over $500 million has been set aside; the importation substitution programme which will also involve different ministries like NNPC, Agriculture, Commerce and Finance.