Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday was at the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan Mid-Lab Syndication meeting in Abuja, where he expressed satisfaction with the organization of the labs and the commitment of all participants towards achieving the overall goal of the exercise.
During the launch of the Labs on March 13, 2018 by President Muhammadu Buhari, it was indicated that the labs would be targeting an initial $25 billion in investments from the private sector.
The initial labs which are targeting investments in the Agriculture and Transportation, Manufacturing and Processing and Power and Gas sectors, are billed to round up on April 26, 2018.
Speaking after the gallery walk in the three labs’ setting, the Vice President said he was particularly impressed by the level of commitment, enthusiasm and interest shown by participants in accepting to lock themselves up for six weeks all in a bid to fast-track the growth and development of the country.
According to him, even though regulatory processes are necessary in order to protect institutions and streamline activities, government appreciates the fact that it is necessary to limit bureaucratic tendencies so that they do not get in the way of progress; which was why government decided to embark on the labs to address challenges that could stand in the way of investments.
The Vice President said he was encouraged by the fact that Nigeria really has what it takes to realize set goals. “We have made remarkable progress and working together we can achieve so much”, he added.
To underscore his observation during the gallery walk of the labs, the Vice President said the leader of the Malaysian consultants working with the ERGP Implementation Team on the labs hinted him that going by his experience in other parts of the world, the ERGP focus labs have achieved about 80% success in the three weeks so far.
Earlier, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, in his opening remarks, commended the participants for their dedication and resilience. He noted that it was no mean feat for owners and operators of businesses to leave their duty posts for six weeks of engagement.
“The progress we have witnessed during the gallery walk in the various labs reflects the enormous amount of work you have put in the past three weeks”, he added.
Reiterating the essence of the labs, the Minister said they were set up mainly to identify and unlock investments from the private sector by resolving complex inter-agency problems that act as barriers to private sector investments.
“By bringing you, the investors and heads of critical agencies of government, into a confined environment, government is offering you a platform to finalise your business decisions in the fastest possible manner.
“Data from the three labs show that in the past three weeks, we are on course to meeting our target of $25 billion investment commitment. So far, we have identified 59 projects that are four and five star. There are several other projects rated one to three star. We will continue to work with these categories of investors to improve the ratings of their projects to a five star project.”