By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Friday emphasised the need for Nigeria to evolve a national development plan strong enough to absorb shocks and adapt to swiftly changing national and international conditions.
Prof. Osinbajo stated this in a keynote address delivered virtually at the 19th meeting of the National Council on Development Planning with theme “National Development Planning in Nigeria: Issues and Challenges.”
He said such plan was necessary in order to bring about a society and economy that works for all, especially the poor and vulnerable, adding that such plan, among other things, must promote economic diversification, be modern, ambitious, realistic and flexible.
Prof. Osinbajo in a statement issued by his spokesman, Laolu Akande, said “it is generally agreed that the primary purpose of planning in our economy is to accelerate growth and development outcomes that will improve the lives of Nigerians.
“To be meaningful, our planning processes must lead to tangible outcomes in the form of growth that exceeds population growth. Indeed, our plans must bring about an economy and society that works for all Nigerians.”
Referencing the Buhari administration’s Social Investment Programmes (SIPs) as an example of deliberate efforts aimed at ensuring inclusive growth, the Vice President said that an aspect of national planning that is often overlooked is how to manage distributional outcomes in a rapidly changing economic environment.
“This point is readily understood if we recall that the strength of feelings on issues like the national minimum wage or indeed the deregulation of PMS prices is related to their expected impact on the poor segments of society.
“It is accordingly important when drawing up national plans to take account of the interests of the more vulnerable members of society. This is why social investment and social protection are at the heart of the Buhari Administration’s policy interventions.
“Indeed, top of mind for Mr President is how to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in this decade as we radically re-engineer the productive base of our economy in agriculture, manufacturing, mining and the digital and creative sectors,” the Vice President explained.
Summarizing the core objectives and targets of a desirable national development plan for the country, the Vice President emphasized that “our development plans must be inclusive and promote economic diversification”.
According to him, “They must promote coordination among the various tiers of government as well as coordination between ministries, departments and agencies at all levels.
“Our plans must also be modern and ambitious and yet realistic and flexible enough to absorb shocks and adapt to swiftly changing domestic and international conditions
“Our plans must accelerate domestic resource mobilization and build capacities for planning, implementation and must create the best possible environment for the private sector to invest and operate
“At the core of thinking in our planning must be the aggressive incremental eradication of poverty and the creation of wealth and good-paying jobs. Our planning must be capable of meeting the aspirations and opportunities for a huge and growing youth population.”
The Vice President also tasked stakeholders to work hard to overcome challenges of implementation and coordination in the execution of the development plans noting that “implementation remains the Achilles Heels of our planning efforts. And another make or break issue for planning is coordination.”
Participants at the meeting include the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed; the Minister of the FCT, Alhaji Mohammed Bello; the Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Mr Clem Agba; Commissioners for Budget and Economic Planning from the 36 States, among others.