ERGP: FG secures $22.5bn investments in 164 projects

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Vice-President-Yemi-Osinbajo

….As Reps ask Stanbic IBTC to produce TSA approval to keep $4.9m***

The Federal Government on Tuesday said it had secured a total investment commitment of $22.5bn from the private sector through the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan Focus Labs.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo gave the figure in Abuja at the Open Day of the focus labs of the ERGP.

The focus labs of the ERGP were inaugurated on March 13, 2018 to accelerate investments into key sectors of the economy by forcing key stakeholders to work together in an intensive environment with specific deliverables and timelines.

The objective is to mobilise at least $25bn in private investments into three selected areas of agriculture and transport, manufacturing and processing, and power and gas.

Osinbajo noted that during the six weeks of conducting the focus labs under the ERGP, officials of government had 20 syndicate meetings with 300 participants from 180 organisations.

The outcome of these, he noted, was that a commitment of $22.5bn was made by private sector investors on 164 projects spread across the six geo-political zones of the country.

These, according to him, are expected to create 513,981 jobs for the country by 2020.

He said, “From the regular updates presented to me throughout the six weeks’ duration and my personal visit to the lab, the lab will achieve what it is set out to do. That is to provide a platform where the private sector will have direct access to regulators, government officials and relevant cabinet ministers in a single location to resolve regulator or bureaucratic delays inhibiting their businesses.

“Following the six weeks, we, as a government, are clearer today as to what we can do to remove the regulatory and bureaucratic bottlenecks within the ambits of the law. The ERGP Focus Labs have succeeded in identifying $22.5bn in private investments from about 164 projects.”

In the meantime, an ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives has asked Stanbic IBTC Bank to produce evidence of the presidential approval that allowed it to keep $4.9m outside the Treasury Single Account of the Federal Government.

The committee, which is chaired by a member of the All Progressives Congress from Kano State, Mr. Abubakar Danburam-Nuhu, has also threatened to issue an arrest warrant against the Managing Director of First Bank Limited, Mr. Adesola Adeduntan, for not honouring its invitations.

The committee is investigating the status of the TSA, the compliance by government agencies and the role of Deposit Money Banks that held government funds prior to the introduction of the policy.

By the TSA policy, all government funds are to be kept in a central account domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria.

However, at the sitting of the committee in Abuja on Tuesday, the Managing Director, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Mr. Demola Sogunle, told the committee that the lender had presidential approval to keep the Hyprep Account of the Federal Ministry of Environment outside the TSA.

The lawmakers doubted this, but Sogunle assured them that he would tender the presidential approval.

“I will make available all information to this committee. There is no intention to hide anything,” he told the lawmakers.

However, a member of the House, Mr. Adamu Kamale, said, “MD, please don’t try to run around to get us a document that was not there before.

“We want to see the evidence of the approval with dates prior to the commencement of this investigation.”

Stanbic IBTC Bank was given up to Tuesday next week to produce the document.

For First Bank, the committee members said they were concerned over the non-appearance of the managing director.

He was given one week by the committee to appear or risk an arrest warrant being issued against him.

Punch