By Sunday Oyinloye
Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba has commended European Union for its efforts at stimulating Nigeria’s economy
Speaking at the official flag-off of the European Union Funded Support to Implementation of National Economic Policies (EU-SINEP) Project in Abuja, Agba described the project as a an important milestone in expanding the frontiers for excellence by the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning for the delivery of one of its key mandates of National Development Planning.
His words “Your presence today is important because either as public servants, development partners, citizens or friends of our great Nation – Nigeria, I am sure we all mean well for Nigeria. In whatever capacity, we all have important roles to play in the collective aspiration for the development of Nigeria.
“I understand that the Project was conceived as a support measure under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) National Indicative Programme (NIP) in demonstration of the EU’s commitment for the promotion of government’s effectiveness, capacity development and service for sustainable growth and poverty reduction in Nigeria. I wish to therefore extend the deep appreciation of the Government and good people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the EU for the strong support and assistance, which brought this project into fruition.”
The Minister disclosed that the EU–Support to the Implementation of National Economic Policies Project is not the usual one-off capacity building programme, adding “the Support goes beyond the organisation of traditional training sessions to include: on-the-job mentoring, coaching and backstopping of personnel for delivery of key tasks”
He said further “at a time when the Managers of the economies of various nation-states are reviewing their processes, approaches and modalities to cope with the uncertainties arising from the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Technical Assistance Project is critical to supporting our efforts in instituting enduring economic policy frameworks required to build-back better for resilience.
“It is gladdening to note that the overall objective of the 11th European Development Fund Support to Public Outreach, which this Project is a part of, is to strengthen operational structures, address capacity gaps, as well as provide tools for better outcomes in the implementation of key development initiatives piloted by the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
“Besides facilitating the review and preparation of strategic and sectoral plans, the Project is expected to support the elaboration of identified opportunities to accelerate new investments for critical projects as well as evolve frameworks for the resolution of complex inter-agency problems inhibiting private investments in our economy.
“Although the EU-SINEP project has a modest financial outlay and a short implementation period, it is very evident that the outlined activities to be undertaken are sufficient to make a difference as they are designed to catalyse positive action in different aspects of our economy.
“In consideration of the activities earmarked for the implementation of the EU–Support to Implementation of National Economic Policies Project, opportunities abound to apply the lessons to be learnt and results to be achieved towards developing and implementing proven initiatives using national budgetary resources.
“ In this regards, I am confident that the skills and lessons to be acquired in the Project’s Component for documentation of the EU infrastructure project in various communities across the country would be applied in articulating a comprehensive database or digital map of the total infrastructure stock in Nigeria. This is desirable for evidence-based decisions in harnessing the full potentials of our investment in infrastructure over the years”.
“Another area of interest in the Project is the planned activities for strengthening the framework for economic and fiscal sustainability both at the national and sub-national levels. This is germane for the harmonisation and strengthening of our systems for appropriation and commitment of budgetary resources for fiscal stability and inclusive growth. We will continue to engage the citizens towards removing the legacy challenges on our fiscal capacity”.
The Minister commended the Implementing Partner, Messrs. IBF International Consulting, Special Assistant and the Technical Assistance Team “for steering this project from the Inception phase to this Implementation stage. “
In her remarks, the EU Head of Corporation in Nigeria, Cecile Tassin-Pelzer said the project would go a long way in facilitating Nigeria’s national planning and economic development, a point which was reechoed by the EU-SINEP TA Team Leader, Professor Olaseni Bello, Co-Chair, Nigerian Development Partners Group, Christopher Becroft as well as other speakers at the event.