From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
THE Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, approved a three-year target to achieve self-sufficiency in refined petroleum products and reduce demand on foreign exchange.
It also approved 34 “priority projects” that would be executed and completed in 2016. Briefing State House correspondents after
the meeting, Minister of State for Budget andNational Planning, ZainabAhmed,in company with the Information Minister Lai Mohammed, Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, Aisha Abubakar, and Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Kadijah Bukar Abba Ibrahim, also disclosed that the presidency was expecting a final copy of the 2016 budget from the National Assembly for presidential assent “today or tomorrow”.
“We are setting a three-year deadline to achieve self-sufficiency in refined petroleum products and to become a net exporter of petroleum products,” she said.
“The objective of this is to increase domes- tic supply of refined products and to reduce demand on foreign exchange for importing refined products in our country. The ministry of petroleum is pushing this. There is also a plan to push for the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) in conjunction with the national assembly,” she said.
She explained that the 34 priority projects were evolved with clear deliverable targets and grouped into four broad objectives– security/policy governance, diversification of economy, succour for vulnerable Nigerians, and relating the economy through investments.
“Our ministry’s presentation was introducing to council for discussion priority economic activities that we need to undertake to ensure that the purpose for which the 2016 budget was made, which is to stimulate the economy, to create jobs for our teeming youths and to extend support to the poor and very vulnerable is realised,” she said.
“We presented 34 strategic priority programmes that need to be realised within 2016. Each of these projects programmes has very clear deliverables and targets and indicators which will be measured to ensure that the respective ministries, departments and agen- cies (MDAs) deliver on what we committed to implement.
“These 34 specific areas are grouped into four major objectives. The first is policy, governance and security, second diversification of the economy, the third is creating support for the poor and the vulnerable and the forth is reflecting our economy through investment.
“The paper was well received by council, we got some very positive comments and the 34 priority projects were approved for implemen- tation. The ministry of budget and national planning has been given responsibility to track and report on quarterly basis to the council on the performance of these key prority areas.”
On the 2016 budget, she said: “I must say the ex- ecutive and legislature have worked very hard putting things together, reviewing the details of the budget and is at its final stage, so maybe between today and tomor- row, the national assembly will start the process of transmitting the details to the president.”