January 10, 2022

Doing justice to Development Plan 2021-2025

In the frenzy of the 2021 Yuletide and 2022 Appropriation Bill legislative actions, the Federal Government had quietly rolled out the National Development Plan 2021-2025.

This is the latest economic blueprint of the President Muhammadu Buhari regime, even as it begins to wind down in 17 months time.

Nigeria has had over a dozen development plans since independence, a situation which has made the latest plan almost uneventful. But most observers would be quick to observe that the lacklustre public response to the current plan stems from the largely unaccomplished goals of almost all the previous plans, creating the impression that the current plan would likely go the same way, a sheer waste of time, a mere academic exercise.

However, almost all nations run on one perspective planning or the other. Therefore, we still welcome the latest effort of government in articulating fiscal and general socio-economic direction for the country.

Though it may sound escapist when it is noted that the present regime that authored the plan will only see the execution in less than 30 per cent of the time-frame, thereby passing the buck of performance to the next government, it is important to note that government should be a continuum, getting the next government to be committed to development, at worst with some adjustment if need be, to the plan it will inherit.

We applaud the distinct sense of purpose demonstrated in crafting the current plan, though many public policy commentators would always argue that the problem has always been with implementation not policy making.

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Be that as it may, the plan was formulated against the backdrop of several subsisting development challenges in the country and the need to tackle them within the framework of medium and long-term plans.

These challenges include low and fragile economic growth, insecurity, weak institutions, insufficient public service delivery, notable infrastructure deficits, climate change, monocultural economy and weak social indicators.

Hence, the plan seeks to invest massively in infrastructure, ensure macroeconomic stability, enhance the investment environment, improve on social indicators and living conditions, implement climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience strategies, amongst others.

Specifically, the Plan aims to generate 21 million full-time jobs and lift 35 million people out of poverty by 2025, thus setting the stage for achieving government’s commitment of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.

The country can achieve these targets through high quality economic growth and a more inclusive economy, leveraging its young workforce, and enhancing implementation capacity at national and subnational levels. With effective implementation, Nigeria will progress significantly on the path of unlocking its potentials in all sectors of the economy for a sustainable, holistic and inclusive national development.

As the authors of the plan set on their last leg of economic governance, we urge an utmost sense of commitment to its 2022 Budget as well as the Medium Term Expenditure Framework for 2021 – 2023 (the period they are still in charge), as both instruments are critical foundation to and have direct bearing on the execution of the 2021-2025 Plan.

Vanguard News Nigeria