President Muhammadu Buhari and his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo, are billed to converge in Abuja on Thursday for a one-day retreat to search for ways to pull the country’s economy out of recession.
The retreat occurs barely 48 hours after the immediate past Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, challenged the present administration to search for solutions to the current economic crisis in the country.
“The solutions to the country’s economic decline could still be found in the country,” Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said on Monday on an Aljazeera programme, The Stream.
“All I can say is that there are solutions. Nigeria is a vibrant country. I love it so much. I know it is going to come out of this one way or another.
“I have spent my time contributing to the country. It will be better to live those managing the economy to do what they know how to do.”
Following the official confirmation that the economy had slipped into recession, majority of Nigerians have criticized government’s handling of its impact, particularly on low income earners who have had to contend with spiralling inflation and high cost of living.
Latest data by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said inflation rate rose to 17.1 per cent in June, from 16.2 per cent in the march.
The Ministry of Budget and National Planning said in a statement on Wednesday that President Buhari would lead his deputy, ministers and heads of relevant federal ministries, departments and agencies to discuss steps to get the economy out of recession.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, said the meeting would also provide the forum for government to present and discuss priority areas of the 2017 budget and realign its priority areas of the MDAs with national growth and development objectives.
“The key objective of the retreat is to discuss the 2017 budget as well as discuss steps being taken to get the economy out of recession,” the spokesperson of the minister, Akpandem James, said in a statement. “The meeting is part of a scheduled arrangement to fine-tune and set the right parameters for the 2017 Budget.”
“It (the meeting) will provide an opportunity to discuss the framework of the 2017 budget, the key priorities and the deliverables of the budget.
“The retreat is expected to deliver improved understanding of the measures being taken to get the country out of recession; improve synergy among the various ministries for enhanced implementation of planning and budget; and enhance knowledge of how to develop 2017 budget which is effectively linked with the medium term plan.
“The meeting will also review prioritized projects and programmes of ministries to fit into the 2017-2019 MTSS, 2017-2020 Medium Term Plan and 2017 Budget; and improved understanding on budget ceiling for MDAs for 2017 Budget,” he said.
Mr. James said President Muhammadu Buhari and his Vice, Yemi Osinbajo, would participate in the meeting, while private sector facilitators and some economic experts are also expected to provide perspectives during the technical sessions.
He said the retreat became necessary, as years of the country’s growth and development have been impeded by mismatch between planned targets and budgetary outcomes at the national and sectoral levels due to lack of synergy between the various federal MDAs.