May 16, 2013

202020: Worse Than Blur Vision

FEW believed the Vision 202020 plan of the Federal Government would be different from earlier development plans. It was. It cost billions of Naira, more than 5000 Nigerians, experts, consultants worked on it over nine months.

The scope of the final document concluded in August 2009 was vast, covering 29 themes identified as encasing Nigeria’s opportunities for growth – Agriculture & Food Security; Business Environment & Competitiveness; Corporate Governance; Culture, Tourism & National Re-Orientation; Education; Employment; Environment & Sustainable Development; Finance, Foreign Policy; Health; Housing; Human Development; Information Communication Technology, Judiciary & Rule Of Law; Manufacturing; Media & Communication; Niger Delta & Regional Development; Political System; Science, Technology & Innovation; Security; SMEs; Mining & Steel Development; Sports Development; Trade & Commerce; Transport; Urban & Rural Development; Water & Sanitation.

President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua who promoted it wanted a document that would articulate and focus Nigeria’s development. The vision died with his demise. Dr Shamsuddeen Usman, Minister of National Planning Commission supervised the vision project. Then Vice President Goodluck Jonathan on 3 August 2009, presided over the final meeting of the Vision 202020 Committee at State House Abuja.

Director General of Nigeria Economic Summit Group, Mr Frank Nweke Jnr, last December ruled out Nigeria’s chances of being the world 20th largest economy by 2020.  “Based on our projections, using the IMF World Economic Outlook database, our findings are that: Saudi Arabia will be the 20th largest economy in the world by 2020, with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $1.2 trillion in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP),” said he at the NESG in Abuja. “According to the projections, Nigeria, would be the 27th largest economy in the world by 2020, with a GDP of US$864 billion in PPP;  – US$316 billion short of the Saudis GDP, and may be the 20th largest economy by 2035.”

Nigerians had doubted availability of political will to implement the report. Other plans suffered similar fate.

“The commission and the minister have continued to repose hope in the vision, as a realistic  long-term growth and development roadmap for the country, in line with this administration’s demonstrated determination, disposition and capacity to do things differently. Power and agriculture are for instance, two areas that are undergoing a total revolution,” Shamsuddeen said in reply to media reports that he had rated Nigeria’s 202020 ambitions unattainable.

It is unfortunate that the erudite Shamsuddeen has fallen into the vicarious liability trap. He knows that government has not made the investments in attention, infrastructure, and legislation that Vision 202020 demands. He knows too time frame of the 202020 vision has been mismanaged. Why is he equivocal on the matter?

Vision 202020 died with Yar’Adua, worse still, nothing replaced it.