Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, says Nigeria needs a N348.1 trillion investment commitment to implement the 2021-2025 National Development Plan successfully.
During the period, the expectation is to lift 35 million Nigerians out of poverty and create 29 million jobs, according to Ms Ahmed. President Muhammadu Buhari has insisted the planned lifting of 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030 was attainable.
She made the declaration on Thursday in Abuja at the inauguration of the board of directors of the Nigeria Small and Medium Enterprises Forum.
“The Ministry of Finance Budget and National Planning Commission has developed a National Development Plan 2021 to 2025. This plan cannot be achieved by (the) government alone. The private sector and SMEs have a huge role in the implementation of the plan,” Ms Ahmed explained.
She added, “To effectively implement the plan by 2025, it is expected to achieve an economic growth rate of 4.6 per cent. It is also expected to lift 35 million people out of poverty and create 29 million jobs. To attain this objective, a total of N348.1 trillion (in) investment commitments are required, and this commitment is not coming from (the) government alone.”
The finance minister stressed that 80 per cent of “these resources are coming” from the private sector.
“The sum of N298 trillion will be funded by the private sector,” said the minister. “We are expecting SMEs to fund part of this as part of (the) private sector’s contribution, while N49.7 trillion is expected from (the) government.’’
The minister reminded the SMEs that they have a critical role to play in the effective implementation of the plan.
According to her, the SME sector has been the backbone of major development and an important contributor to employment and economic growth.
Albert Akinyemi, chairman of the forum, expressed worries at the rejection of some Nigerian products abroad because of their low quality and identified funding as the major challenge confronting the growth of SMEs in Nigeria.
“The federal government has so many interventions. But because of what I will call the Nigerian factor, the story has not been good. Some people will be blaming the federal government, but it is not true,” Mr Akinyemi explained. “The problem emanated from the SMEs themselves and the officials. For instance, some banks will say we don’t have the experience or collateral security.”
Nigeria’s NDP 2021-2025 is a medium-term blueprint to unlock Nigeria’s potential in all sectors of the economy for sustainable holistic and inclusive national development.
The plan is a successor to the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020, which expired in December 2020.