Peterside, Ahmed co-chair Agenda 2050 c’ttee
President Muhammadu Buhari has stated that the Nigeria Agenda 2050 and Medium-Term National Development Plan (MTNDP) would lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030. The president made the disclosure yesterday during the inauguration of a new National Steering Committee to oversee the development of the MTNDP as a replacement for the Vision 20:2020 and the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017 – 2020, which terminate by December this year. The panel will be jointly chaired by Mr. Atedo Peterside and Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
Buhari stressed that it was important to develop successor plan to the Vision 20:2020 and ERGP in order to ensure continuity and efficiency in the nation’s development planning. He said: ”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.” On the mandate of the National Steering Committee, President Buhari said it would oversee governance structure comprising the Central Working Group and 26 Technical Working Groups for the important national assignment.
”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 institutionalise planned outcomes for the future. I trust that our partners in the National Assembly will support us in exploring these reforms,” he said. President Buhari urged the National Steering Committee not to lose sight of the important role Nigeria plays on the continent as well as in the global community.
He said the Successor Plans must be designed to sustain national development, as well as support regional and global strategic interests, as outlined in the African Union Agenda 2063, the ECOWAS Integration Agenda 2050 and the Sustainable Development Goals 2030.
Underscoring the importance of national development planning, the President said if carefully conceived and diligently implemented, it can transform the economic fortunes of a nation. He cited the Chinese development plan which had succeeded in lifting over 700 million people out of poverty since 1992.
The trajectory of Chinese economic development was halted by the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic early this year, he noted. ”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.
Buhari recalled that in February 2017, when he launched the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, its objectives included, restoring and sustaining growth, investing in people and building a globally competitive economy while Nigeria’s Vision 20:2020 was an articulation 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 as signment, adding that he looked forward to receiving regular reports of deliberations. On the composition of the committee, the President said in order to ensure a truly consultative, participatory and inclusive planning process, the membership will comprise 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 members of the National Steering Committee are 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. In her remarks, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning noted that lately, various zones of the country have been pursuing different economic cooperation within their areas. She, therefore, urged that the new plans consider the comparative advantages available in these regional blocs to build a virile Nigeria.
The minister said though the two national plans would soon expire, the government must be ready to tell Nigerians how much they have transformed the economy. The co-chair, Peterside, pledged to work as a team, commending the President for making the committee very inclusive. He pointed out that there must be inclusiveness, consultations and public ownership for the new plan to work.