By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
Federal Government has assured all the States of the Federation that their basic needs will be well captured in the new National Development Plan with a view to ensuring that Government at the State and Local levels are effectively mobilised for the implementation of the Plans.
The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba who gave the assurance on Wednesday disclosed that an assessment of the Technical Working Groups (TWGs) reports “shows that the States are partially missing in action despite their participation at various TWGs”.
Declaring open the 19th edition of the Joint Planning Boad/National Council on Development Planning Meetings with the theme ‘National Development Planning in Nigeria: Issues and Challenges’ in Abuja, the Minister said the aim of the meeting is to harvest additional perspectives of the States “to ensure that the programmes and implementation of the sustainable development objectives of MTNDP (2021-2025) at the Federal level are in line with the development aspirations at the State level.
“The importance of Synergy between the States and Federal Government in the articulation and implementation of the Medium-Term National Development Plan (2021-2025) and Nigeria Agenda 2050 cannot be overemphasized. The benefit of this approach of development would considerably maximise synergies and minimise trade-offs between the National Development Plans and State Development Plans as well as their implementation across the Sectors and Levels.
“The approach would also enhance the effectiveness and quality of outcome as well as contribute to the efficient use of our scarce resources. Unfortunately, in the previous Plans, the issues of synergies between the State and Federal governments were downplayed.
“As a result, achievements of NV20: 2020 and ERGP over the last ten years and five years respectively were dwarfed by lack of synergies in the design and implementation of the National Plans and State Plans. It is also the reason we were unsuccessful to addressing the booms and bust syndrome associated with the mono-cultural nature of our exports and revenue.
“Our new National Plan is expected to provide the necessary coordination between the State and Federal Governments. If we do not use this Plan to solve the right problems of our country, we would all fail in our quest towards improving the well-being of our people”, he stated .
Prince Agba further stated that the objective of the MTNDP 2021-2025, ” is the elimination of Poverty and creation of jobs. It will not be focused on accelerating GDP growth alone. This Plan will be the first Medium-Term National Development Plan to implement the Nigeria Agenda 2050. It will also play a key role in delivering the SDGs 2030 and African Union Agenda 2063.
“This Plan will support the implementation of the Nine (9) Priorities of Government during the first medium-term period. These priorities are: (a) stabilize the economy; (b) ensure energy sufficiency in power & petroleum products; (c) achieve agricultural & food security; (d) improve transportation & other Infrastructures; (e) drive industrialization; (f) improve health, education & productivity; (g) enhance social security & reduce poverty; and (h) fight corruption & improve governance.
“We also intend to stabilise budget & Government expenditure, pursue concentric diversification of the economy and close the fiscal deficit. In addition, the strategy is to adopt proactive trade policies, prioritise self-reliance and home-grown solution. Infrastructural development will not be downplayed.
“Governance and Public Sector capacity will be strengthened by ensuring transparency in the utilisation of resources. Effort will be made to review the Public Sector Contract System. It will also pay attention to regulatory issues. Overall, this Plan and your supportive actions will help Government to deliver better living conditions to Nigerians”, he noted.
1The Minister pointed out that considering the urgency to unveiling the MTNDP (2021-2025) soon, the 19th Abuja meeting has been declared as a workshop and place to brainstorm on the way forward, adding that the the States are expected to swiftly identify the programmes and projects that will deliver government priorities.
“You already know the socio-economic challenges that faces us. You also know the challenges we face with financing development programmes. We need the development support and cooperation at the State and Local Government levels to help Federal Government address the socio-economic challenges facing Nigeria”, he told the participants.
The minister reaffirmed Federal government’s resolve to continue to work with the States to deliver on the priorities that will lift the people out of poverty and create opportunities for productive employment.
He recalled that the ERGP, 2017-2020 and NV20:2020 lapsed in December, 2020, hence the need to develop successor Plans, namely; the Medium Term National Development Plan (MTNDP), 2021-2025 and Nigeria Agenda 2050 to replace the outgone plans respectively.
” This JPB/NCDP meetings will carefully look at the challenges affecting development Planning in Nigeria, which includes non-implementation of Plans/lack of political will and Plan indiscipline, among others. There was also the widely held but wrong notion that the plans were Federal Plans.
“This partly explains our resolve at ensuring that all critical stakeholders, particularly the sub-national governments are part of the current plan development process to secure the necessary ownership and inclusiveness. So far, the process has been participatory, involving not only state actors but the Organized Private Sector, Civil Society Organizations, Women and Youth groups, People with Special Needs, etc”, Prince Agba said.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the Budget and National Planning Ministry, Mrs Olusola Idowu had welcomed participants which included, state Commissioners of Finance, Permanent Secretaries and Directors of Budget and Economic Planning to 3-day joint meetings.
According to the programme of events, the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo as the Guest of Honour is expected to declare the meeting closed on Friday, followed by the Wrap-up and Reading of the Communique.