FG targets $25bn investments from proposed economic labs

By Chesa Chesa
The Federal Government has set a target of $25 billion in foreign and domestic investments from the launch of its economic ‘Focused Laboratories’ in March, according to the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma.
Udoma, who also briefed the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday on the activities of his Ministry in the past two years, explained that much work had gone into getting the labs off to work by March and that the policy had received considerable interest from stakeholders.
The focused labs are part of measures to drive the Economic Recovery and Growth Programme (ERGP) of the administration and intends to bring together private and public sector officials necessary to achieve the specific policy or project objectives, in order to achieve the objective of over seven per cent growth plus exponential job creation by 2020.
The initiative is planned to include 100 relevant stakeholders drawn from the public and private sectors, who would sit together for many weeks, intensively working and brainstorming on practical steps to get the ERGP active and working for the good of Nigeria.
The laboratories will run for about three months in three separate phases of pre-laboratory, laboratory, and post-laboratory.
According to Udoma: “The Focused labs will be commencing on the 5th of March. We will be bringing in investors both domestic and international. We will be looking at three areas Agriculture and Transportation, Power and Gas, Manufacturing and Processing.
“It is going to involve many ministers in the Federal Executive Council who are actually going to drive that process.
“The target for the labs alone is to generate $25 billion worth of new investments. Some of the investments will be Naira, some will be dollars because we are expecting significant amount of domestic investments not just foreign investments.”
The FEC also approved an upward variation of the contract sum for the building of a trailer park at the Tin Can Island Port in Lagos from N8.66 billion to N9.55 billion.
The augmentation of the contract sum by about N892.17 million was disclosed to State House correspondents by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, at a news briefing after the FEC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Minister explained that the augmentation of the price was due to the need for increased scope of work, especially shoreline protection of the park, which is almost finished.
“We expect that that truck park will now be completed this year and it will be one of the many multi-pronged efforts being pursued to give relief to the Apapa area, to facilitate vehicular truck and trailer movement and also maritime and import and export business and general economic activity for Apapa in particular, Lagos at large and the country as a whole”, Fashola stated.
The FEC equally okayed similar action for the contracts earlier awarded for ongoing Ekiti and Katsina dam projects.
Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, who announced the augmentation for the water project contracts, had presented to FEC a review of the activities of his Ministry.
These include the Water Resources Policy Bill which is still being considered at the National Assembly; resuscitation of several abandoned projects; signing of MoUs with investors, with the hope of commissioning no fewer than ten projects this year.
Meanwhile, the FEC members observed a minute silence in honour of late former Minister of Internal Affairs, retired Brigadier General John Shagaya, who died in a road crash a few days ago.

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