President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday in Abuja inaugurated the National Steering Committee to oversee the development of the Nigeria Agenda 2050 and Medium-Term National Development Plan (MTNDP).
These socioeconomic development plans are to succeed Vision 20:2020 and the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017–2020, which lapse by end of this year.
The National Steering Committee for the development of Successor Plans to Vision 20:2020 and ERGP will be jointly chaired by businessman, Mr. Atedo Peterside and Dr (Mrs) Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
Speaking at the inauguration, which held at the State House, Abuja, Buhari said that “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.”
The President noted that it had become necessary to develop Successor Plans to the Nigeria Vision 20:2020 and the ERGP, which both lapse in December this year, in order to ensure continuity and efficiency in the country’s development planning.
He explained that the National Steering Committee 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.
The President 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.
This means that 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.
”The Chinese experience is an example. It has resulted in lifting over 700 million people out of poverty over the last four decades.
”Indeed, China’s track record of positive economic growth, since 1992, was only halted in the first quarter of 2020, due to onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
”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 the ERGP, which he launched in February 2017, 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.
On the other hand, he said Nigeria’s Vision 20:2020 was an articulation of the long-term intent to launch Nigeria onto a path of sustained socio-economic development.
Meanwhile, the President explained that the composition of the steering committee would 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, in order to ensure a truly consultative, participatory and inclusive planning process.
Other members 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.
In her remarks, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Ahmed 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.