By; Sunday Ode, Abuja.
The Federal Government on Wednesday said that the 2017 budget will get Nigeria out of the current economic recession, noting that some sectors are already showing signs of improvement .
Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, stated this while State House correspondents on the outcome of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.
Udoma said he briefed council on the recent Third Quarter Report on the economy released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which showed marginal improvement in some sectors, especially agriculture.
The Minister said the NBS report had stimulated the cabinet members to put in more efforts towards getting the country out of recession before the end on this year.
He explained that this was part of the reasons the cabinet is eager to have the 2017 national budget passed by the National Assembly; with an intention to make the economy more diversified and competitive.
He said; Today I briefed council on the recently released National Bureau of Statistics Third Quarter GDP Report and the full report on 2016.
“I also informed council of the release of the Economic recovery Growth Plan which is already on the website of the ministry of budget and national planning as well as the budget office.
“We look forward to the early passage of the 2017 budget so that we can fast track the implementation of the plan. As you know the plan fed into the 2017 budget. So many of the initiatives in the plan are reflected in the budget.
“With regards to the NBS report, as you are aware the fourth quarter of the economy contracted by 1.3 per cent which is lower level of contraction than the previous year and which indicates that we are already turning and we are beginning to recover even though we are still in recession.
“And the overall result was better than many people projected. The IMF report had thought the GDP for 2016 was going to be -1.8 per cent and it turned out -1.5, so that’s better than expected but we are not out of the woods. It is encouraging but we have to do and continue to do more to make sure that we get the economy out of the recession this year.
“Yes we are determined to get the economy out of the recession before the end of this year. And the 2017 budget is structured to do just that. So that is why we are anxious to get the budget passed so that we can begin the implementation and begin to take all the steps we need to get the economy out of recession.”
During the briefing, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mohammed Bello, said the council approved a $470 million contract for the water supply project in Abuja. It is to be funded by the China-Nexim Bank and aims to expand water supply in the FCT.
While the Greater Abuja Water Project will gulp the $470m, another sum of N186 million was approved for the supply of 1,000 tons of alum for water treatment by an indigenous firm.
A third contract also approved is to extend maintenance of Wupa water treatment plant in Abuja by a period of 24 months, which will include its maintenance, training and retraining of staff while creating additional employment for Nigerian professionals and artisans.
He added”During FEC meeting, we discussed three very important memoranda from FCT. The first one is the approval of the contract for the construction of greater Abuja water supply project at the total cost of 470 million USD.
“This is a very important project for the residents of city because it aims to provide portable water to the greater part of the city and it intends to leverage on the facility that we have in the city. That is lower Osuma Dam as well as the Water treatment plant for the city which reputed to be one of the largest on the African continent.
“The other memos approved are basically supply contract for alum to serve the FCT water board. As you know, providing portable water of good quality to the residents of this city is a very important priority for us and this supply coming from an indigenous manufacturing company which in line with the federal government local content policy as well as encouraging investors that are employing labour to be able to continue in their business.
“The third contract is the contract that has to do with Wupa water treatment plant which is an extension of contract to a period of 24 months which will include its maintenance and above all training and retraining and additional training of competent staff. And this segment of activities now will involve additional employment of Nigerian professionals as well as artisans and also non skill labour.
He said these three memos are very significant for FCT residents and assured that their conclusion and operations will add to the value of life and health of the citizens.
“With regards to the water board contract, the contract amount is N186 million for the supply of 1000 tons of alum. The contract value for the greater Abuja water works is actually $470.
“The whole idea of the approval with regards to the Wupa Water Treatment Plant is to ultimately get an exit plan so that the maintenance of the entire project which as you know was commissioned in 2009 by the President at that time, President Olusegun Obasanjo. Ultimately, our intention is really this project by now should be handled by Nigerian professionals because we have them. That’s the whole intention of this approval, he stated.