Story from Kenneth AFOR, Lagos
President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday in Abuja inaugurated the National Steering Committee (NSC) to oversee the development of the Nigeria Agenda 2050 and Medium-Term National Development Plan (MTNDP) to succeed Vision 20:2020 and the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017 – 2020.
According to the President, the NSC will be jointly chaired by Mr Atedo Peterside and Dr (Mrs) Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
The President is hopeful that the Successor Plans of the committee is aimed at lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.
”The main objectives of these Successor Plans are to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within the next 10 years, particularly given the World Bank’s projection that Nigeria will become the world’s third most populous country by 2050 with over 400 million people.”
Buhari noted that the development of the Successor Plans to the Nigeria Vision 20:2020 was necessary in order to ensure continuity and efficiency in the country’s development planning.
The mandate of the committee according to the President would oversee governance structure comprising the Central Working Group and 26 Technical Working Groups for the important national assignment.
He, therefore, urged the committee not to relent on the important role the country plays on the continent as well as in the global community.
”It is my expectation that the Steering Committee will oversee the execution of key deliverables, including recommending measures to ensure the continuous implementation of the Plans even after the expiration of the tenure of successive Administrations – including legislation, if required.
”Such legislation may introduce much-needed rigour and discipline to the nation’s development planning as well as to institutionalise planned outcomes for the future. I trust that our partners in the National Assembly will support us in exploring these reforms,” he said.
The President in his speech asserts that the plans must be designed to sustain national development and in sync to support regional and strategic interests outlined in the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Integration Agenda 2050 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030.
The President is optimistic if the plans are carefully conceived and diligently implemented, they can transform the economic fortunes of a nation.
”Chinese experience is an example. It has resulted in lifting over 700 million people out of poverty over the last four decades.
”Indeed, China’s track record of positive economic growth, since 1992, was only halted in the first quarter of 2020, due to the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
”COVID-19 presents the world – and Nigeria – with a crisis as well as an opportunity. The current global health and economic crises give us an opportunity to think afresh and chart an optimal path forward, ” he said.
During the launch of the ERGP February 2017, the objectives of the plan included, restoring and sustaining growth, investing in people and building a globally competitive economy. He maintained that Nigeria’s Vision 20:2020 was a calibration of the long-term intent to launch Nigeria onto a path of sustained socio-economic development.
”The ERGP shared this vision, which ensured that the country exited recession in 2017 and sustained growth in Gross Domestic Product until the recent global economic challenges occasioned by COVID-19.
”Over the decades, successive planning and visioning exercises have guided investment in human capital development, the implementation of our infrastructural roadmap, and supported social investment in our people’s lives and livelihoods,” he said.
The President wished the committee success in its assignment, adding that he looked forward to receiving regular reports of deliberations of the committee.
He advised that members of the committee should consist of representatives of one state governor from each of the six geopolitical zones, the Senate and House of Representatives, ministers and representatives of key agencies.
Other should include major political parties, ALGON, captains of industries, labour organizations, youth organizations and women’s societies, farmers’ associations, traditional and religious leaders, people with special needs and members of the press.
”At the heart of the Successor Plans is the partnership between the public and private sectors, with Government as the enabler of private sector investment and industry,” the President said.
According to her remarks, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed, various zones of the country have been pursuing different economic cooperation within their areas.
She, therefore, urged that the new plans should have comparative advantages available in these regional blocs to build a formidable Nigeria.
”Although the two National Plans are on their way out, the question that will remain on the lips of Nigerians and which we must be ready to provide an answer with little or no prompting as we progress with the preparation of the successor Plans is how much the Plans have transformed Nigerian economy.
”As the National Steering Committee for the preparation of the new Plans, we must therefore strive to give hope to the great citizens of this country with the quality of Plans that we are coming up with,” she said.
Mr Peterside in his remarks commended the President for making the committee an inclusive one, promising to work as a team.
”For a development plan to be successful, it has to be inclusive, people should be consulted, own it and believe it is working for them,” he said.