My New Devt Plan’ll Lift 100m Nigerians Out of Poverty, Says Buhari

0
Muhammadu-Buhari

Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said that his new development plan will lift about 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030.

The president stated this in Abuja when he inaugurated the National Steering Committee to oversee the development of the ‘Nigeria Agenda 2050 and Medium-Term National Development Plan (MTNDP),’ which succeeds ‘Vision 20:2020 and the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017 – 2020.’

The new development plan is jointly chaired by Mr. Atedo Peterside and the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed.

Vision 20:2020 and Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017 – 2020 will both expire in December 2020.

Speaking at the inauguration in the State House, Buhari said the main goals of the development plans are to lift 100 million Nigerians from poverty in the next 10 years following World Bank’s projection that Nigeria will become the third most populous country in the world in 2050.

According to him, the Chinese development plans, which he said had brought no fewer than 700 million people out of poverty in the last 40 years is a good example to imitate.

He added that China’s development agenda only suffered a setback in the first quarter of this year as a result of COVID-19 outbreak.

He said COVID-19 pandemic, which has created economic crises for both Nigeria and the entire world, also has its own inherent opportunities which he said presented the country with the platform to think and chart the part of progress.

Speaking on Vision 20:2020 and ERGP, Buhari said while the objectives of ERGP were conceived to include restructuring and sustaining economic growth as well as building a robust economy, Vision 20:2020 on the other hand, was conceived to put Nigeria on the path of sustainable socio-economic development.

He said both economic plans were complementary, noting that the ERGP, for instance, helped the country to come out of recession in 2017 and also sustain Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth until the outbreak of COVID-19.

According to him, successive development plans in Nigeria in the past decades provided the pathway for investments in human capital development and also aided the implementation of infrastructure development agenda as well as social investment in both citizens and their livelihoods.

He said: “It is my pleasure to address you all on this very important occasion of the informal inauguration of National Steering Committee (NSC) for the development of successor plans to the Nigerian Vision 2020 and the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017-2020.

He said the inauguration of NSC and the pursuit of 2050 agenda is aimed at sustaining efficient development planning agenda that will replace Vision 20:2020 and the ERGP.

“National Development Planning is a virtual task that if carefully conceived and diligently implemented, can transform the 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,mwas only halted in the first quarter of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“COVID-19 presented the world and Nigeria with a crisis as well as an opportunity. The current global health and economic crisis give us an opportunity to think afresh and chart an optimal part forward.

“When I launched the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan in February 2017, its objectives included restructuring and sustained growth, investing in our people, and building a globally competitive economy. The Nigerian Vision 20:2020 on the other hand, was with an articulation of long term intent to launch Nigeria into a path of sustained social and economic development.

“The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan shared this vision, which ensured that the country exited recession in 2017 and sustained growth and 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 investments in human capital development, the implementation of our infrastructural roadmap and supported social investment in our people’s lives and livelihoods.

“In order to ensure continuity and efficiency in our development planning, it has become necessary to develop successor plans to the Nigerian Vision 20:2020 and the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, which will both elapse in December this year.

“The main objectives of this successor plans are to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within the next 10 years, particularly given the World Bank projection that Nigeria will become the world’s third most populous country by 2050 with over 400 million people.”

Buhari said membership of NSC would be drawn from each geo-political zone of the country, the Senate and House of Representatives, federal cabinet, notable agencies of government, major political parties, Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), captains of industries, labour organisations, youth groups, women societies, farmers’ associations, traditional and religious groups, people with special needs and the press.

According to him,the pursuit of the agenda will be a reflection of private public partnership with the government promoting private sector investment and industry..

He added: “The committee is to oversee governance structure, comprising the central working group and 26 technical working groups for this important national assignment. It is my expectation that the steering committee will oversee the execution of key deliverables, including recommending measures and ensure the continuous implementation of the plans and 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 national development planning as well as institutionalised planned outcomes for the future.

I trust that our partners in the National Assembly will support in exploring these reforms. Furthermore, I enjoined the National Steering Committee not to lose sight of the important role that Nigeria plays on our continent as well as in the global community.”

Buhari said the successor plan must be designed to sustain national development and simultaneously support regional and global strategic interests as contained in African Union (AU) agenda 2063, ECOWAS Integration Agenda 2050 andSustainable Development Goals 2030.

Speaking at the event, Peterside said any development plan that will be successful must be inclusive and involve a wide range of consultations, noting that the composition of the NSC had already addressed the issue of inclusiveness.

He said the committee would learn from past mistakes, pointing out that even though these are trying times, it is also the best time to bring people together to think about the future plans. He thanked the president for giving them the responsibility.

“For a development plan to be successful, it has to be inclusive, people should take ownership. Meaning the people must have been consulted. The composition has passed the test as it includes major political parties, governors. We will learn from past mistakes. Although these are difficult times, it is also the best time to get people together to think about the future,” he said.

In her own remarks, Ahmed said the government had the responsibility to answer questions from Nigerians on how much Vision 20:2020 and ERGP had impacted their lives as they are expiring.

According to her, as the NSC settles down to work, it also has the responsibility of giving hope to the people of Nigeria by coming up with quality plans.

: “Although the two national plans are on their way out, the question that will remain on the lips of Nigerians, and which we must be ready to provide an answer with little or no prompting as we progress with the preparation of the successor plans, is how much the plans have transformed Nigerian economy.

‘’As the National Steering Committee for the preparation of the new plans, we must therefore strive to give hope to the great citizens of this country with the quality of plans that we are coming up with, ‘’ she said.