Vice-President Namadi Sambo
By Muhammad Bello
Three decades after the Third National Development Plan was developed, the Federal Government has picked up the gauntlet by approving a new framework for the National Integrated Infrastructural Development Master Plan, which will catapult the country into the ranks of 20 developed nations by 2020.
This was part of the decisions reached at the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by Vice-President Namadi Sambo, during which it was disclosed that FEC also approved the establishment of an advisory council for the coordination of development activities in the oil rich Niger Delta region.
According to the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, the approval of the master plan was a measure set out to achieve the coordination of the development of the nation by developing synergy between various ministries, departments and agencies of government.
“Since the 1980s when the Third National Development Plan was concluded, there have been discontinuity and lack of coordination in executing projects which has led to inconsistencies in implementation of policies and development projects as well as lack of direct foreign investment,” Maku said.
He added that the new master plan was important for the accelerated development of the country as it will encompass several key sectors, pointing out that it was crafted with lessons learnt from China, India, Singapore and Malaysia in mind.
“When we looked at what has happened in these countries and we decided that Nigeria must change from its haphazard way of doing things by adopting an integrated master plan,” Maku said, adding that the government was convinced that the public sector alone cannot fast track development in the country.
He noted that once government starts to consistently implement the new plan in partnership with the MDAs, then development will follow a logical progression.
The FEC, while looking at the preponderance of duplication of projects by various stakeholders in the Niger Delta, decided that an advisory body to coordinate the development of the area was needed.
Accordingly, approval was given for the setting up of a National Council for the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs (NCMNDA).
Minister of State for Niger Delta, Mr. Darius Ishaku, explained that government was worried by the lack of coordination pertaining to development activities in the region, that have not enabled it to synergise the efforts of the many bodies, private and public, involved in transforming the area.
He said the advisory council, will be chaired by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, while representatives from the Ministries of Works, Environment, Transport, Petroleum Resources, Agriculture and Water Resources will be represented on the advisory council.
Other members are Ministries of Education, Finance, Land and Women Affairs, amongst other MDAs.