June 13, 2009

Vision 2020: VP vows to sanction ministers

ABUJA — As a two-day retreat on the Mid-Term Review of the National Technical Working Groups of the Vision 2020 Strategic Development opens in Abuja, Vice President Goodluck Jonathan has read a riot act to ministers with a vow to hold them responsible for the looming failure of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to meet up with the Federal Government’s target on the project so far.

The retreat which opened yesterday at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, is being staged for members of the National Steering Committee and the National Technical Working Groups of the Vision 20-2020 under the supervision of the National Planning Commission (NPC) .

The Vice President who expressed disappointment at the inability of the MDAs to work at the same pace with the national technical working groups declared that the Federal Government was prepared to sanction any MDA that would wants to frustrate ongoing efforts to achieve set objectives, as far the realization of the vision is concerned.

He wondered why it would take the MDAs such a long time to get to work by setting up their respective Stakeholders Development Committees (SDCs), Ministers would now be held responsible for the success or failure of their Ministries and departments and agencies under them towards the attainment of the nation’s target of Vision 20-2020.

Said he: “I have been informed that despite widespread enthusiasm being shown by all stakeholders in general, there are still some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that have either not yet set up their Stakeholders Development Committees or have so far not yet set up their committees and to work immediately.

I expect that all those that fall within this category will set their committees and get to work immediately”.

According to him, “Henceforth, I will be receiving periodic updates from the National Planning Commission and the Project Management Office of Vision 2020 about the progress made in this regard by the MDAs and I intend to hold the Ministers responsible for the success or failure of their ministries towards contributing to this honorable initiative.”

Vice President Jonathan said that the Vision 20_2020 is “not just another futile programme of government” but a policy which the current administration is determined to fully implement.

He stated that the choice before the nation is clear: “we can either drift into the future or we can plan for our future. It is time, well and true and truly time, to seize the future with both hands, to build a new Nigeria, a better Nigeria for all of our people as well as turning this great nation of our to an even greater force for good on the continent and in the world.”

Vice President Jonathan noted that “many other countries with potentials not as great as ours have completed conceptualising similar programmes and Visions and have already started implementing them.”

He replied critics who have called the Vision 20_2020 “ambitious”, saying that while he agrees that them, “I also think it is a plan with seeds of immense opportunities, which when germinated, hold great development potentials for our great country.

Ambition is a driving force that has made many countries in the world great nations today”.

He said “we are embarking on an ambitious programme because we believe that Nigeria is a great country with boundless potential and our people should no longer be compelled to settle for second best. In our land of plenty, we should envision great things. The empires of the future are the empires of the mind”.

“Our aim is victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory, there is no survival.

We strive to be among the 20 economies in the world by 2020 not because it is easy, but because it is both necessary and challenging; because our people expect us to organise and measure the best of our energies and skills to improve the general wellbeing of all Nigerians.

And because Vision 2020 is a challenge that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.”

Vice President Jonathan said that as the nation looks ahead, the “tasks becomes even more daunting. In a fast-paced, globalised, post industrial world, the challenge to catch up is very daunting.

We are confronted by gigantic challenges of inadequacy of basic infrastructure, the poverty crisis, the human capital deficit and value reorientation. But the job must be done.

For the faint-hearted, it may seem an impossible dream to hope for a better future with huge odds.”

He added that “Nigeria can become a developed nation if only everyone contributes to it”, saying that the strides the nation has made in the telecommunications sector shows that the realisation of Vision 2020 is possible.

Jonathan stated that “with the Vision to dream big and the political will to make our dream a reality, the Nigerian who is born today and in the years to come will be the last generation of our citizens who will be living in a country that is called “developing” by the year 2020.”

The mid-term review is being attended by Ministers, heads of departments and agencies, members of the organised private sector and the Vision 2020 Committee.