The 34 strategic priority programmes and projects as contained in the 2016 budget in a way differentiates it from previous budgets. They are areas that are considered to be given strategic attention, the fulcrum upon which the rise of the economy is built. These 34 strategic programmes the federal government set to achieve beginning with the 2016 budget. The 34 specific areas are grouped into four major objectives, the first being policy, governance and security; the second is diversification of the economy; the third is creating support for the poor and the vulnerable while the fourth is reflating the economy through investment. Each of these projects have clear targets and deliverables and indicators which will be measured to ensure that the respective ministries and MDAs are on course as regards the intended goals. The 34 strategic priority areas required to be implemented in the 2016 budget are categorized into the following thematic areas:
To achieve and maintain a capital spend minimum of 30% annually with the objective to reflate the economy and enhance employment generation capacity for the productive sector.
To achieve an appropriate exchange regime to achieve a predictable rate by the end of 2016
To increase low interest lending to the real sector at single digit presumably nine percent in order to increase output and growth.
As regards diversification of the economy: To attain self-sufficiency in tomato paste in 2016 and rice production by 2018
To increase local production of maize, soya beans, poultry and livestock and stop import.
To expand the agro-allied sector to intensify local production of cassava, cocoa, cashew nuts, fruits and sesame seeds.
To make use of 5,000 hectares arable land in 12 River Basin development authorities and to utilize 22 dams for commercial farming.
Priorities under the rail and road and power sectors
To optimize up to 7,000 megawatts installed capacity with the associated infrastructure in order to enhance investment, productivity and employment.
To complete the Kaduna-Abuja-Ajaokuta railway lines in 2016.
To commence the construction of the Lagos-Kano standard gauge rail line and also to finalize the negotiation regarding the Calabar-Lagos rail line.
To undertake the rehabilitation and construction of 31 major projects and restore the degraded sections of some major high ways and improve connectivity over a distance of 210,093 kilometres.
To adopt and execute comprehensive national oil and gas policy which is supposed to be the road map for the petroleum industry development diversification as well as privatization.
Sets a three-year deadline to achieve self-sufficiency in refined petroleum products and to become a net exporter of petroleum products.
To push for passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB)
To move 20 places up the ranking from 169 to 149 by fast-tracking business approvals, acquisition of land titles, issuance of visas for persons seeking to come into the country to do business
To invest in the lives of our people by implementing various social projects covering health and education
Government to rehabilitate 5,000 primary health centres in 5,000 wards this year to deliver affordable health care services to Nigerians as close as possible to their home.
It’s the first month in the last quarter, what is the extent of implementation of these 34 areas. The federal government is still working on increasing the electricity capacity even in the face of disruptions and pipeline vandalisation in the Niger delta, it dropped recently from 5000 megawatts to 3500, ease of doing business has not change either etc.
Do you think these 34 areas can be fully implemented in the light of the present economic challenges, with regards to other subjects in the list, which of these areas has the federal government performed considerably well, which do you think might be difficult to realize? Let us hear your comments on these.