In today’s difficult economy and especially after the numerous global economic upheavals, corporate players are devising creative ways to keep their businesses afloat. Employees and other stakeholders are, in like term, looking for ways to keep their jobs alive and active. Wading through the storm includes developing new abilities to connect with new productive ideas.
Government ministries, agencies, commissions and departments across the world are rethinking the age long axiom which says “government has no business in business.” To public office holders desirous to serve and save the masses, particularly the poor, governance is now approached from the perspectives of discipline and anchored on sustainability and productive collaborations with the private sectors and development-driven civil society organisations.
From the above standpoint, there is a legitimate need for the President Bola Tinubu-led Federal Government to revisit and implement the National Development Plan (2021-2025) launched in 2021 by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration. The NDP is a successor plan to both the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan and the Vision 20:2020.
Indeed, the President has not left anyone in doubt of his administration’s resolve to create a friendly business climate, increase revenue generation, ensure good monetary policy reforms, among others. These facts notwithstanding, the NDP remains a document worthy of national attention and too important to be relegated to the background for whatever reason.
To use the words of the former Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, the NDP sets the tone for Nigeria’s next economic destination and prioritises robust infrastructure, economic stability, improved social indicators and living conditions of Nigerians.
First, infrastructural provisions enable development and also provide the services that underpin the ability of people to be economically productive. Infrastructure investments, according to development professionals, help to stem economic losses arising from problems such as epileptic power supply, traffic congestion. The World Bank estimates that in sub-Saharan Africa, closing the infrastructure quantity and quality gap relative to the world’s best performers could raise GDP growth per head by 2.6 per cent every year.
Aside from the evidence that the NDP has the future we all desire and will play a sizeable role in the product complexity space internationally and adopt measures to ease constraints that have hindered the economy from attaining its potential, particularly on the product mapping space, the NDP is the new awareness we are having for the first time in our planning history as a nation. We are having a NDP that is comprehensively enriching.
In the past, we always had one volume, which is the plan itself. But this time, we have three volumes. Volume one is the main plan. “Volume two is a prioritised and sequential list of programmes and projects that will be fed into the annual budgets while volume three contains the legislative imperatives.”
Also, in line with the global belief that every government must find ways to create a sustainable economy, find solution to the harmful effects of poverty upon the poor, the plan is laced with opportunities for inclusiveness for young people, women, people with special needs, and the vulnerable ones. It also mainstreams women gender into all aspects of our social, economic and political activities.
Another compelling reason the Tinubu-led Federal Government must not abandon the plan is that it has become a routine for Nigeria to change economic plans with every change in leadership. This fear cannot be described as unfounded as we have, as a country, had several economic plans in the past. They had a huge sum of money injected into them but none achieved its targeted result. They were all aborted due to corruption, incompetence, and change in administration.
As noted elsewhere, since independence in 1960, the country has demonstrated that there is no development plan which has achieved its core objective. There is always a disturbing laxity in marching planned targets with execution. The result is that the country remains one of the most politically and economically dis-articulated countries in the world.
Take as an illustration, for most of our political history, public office holders in Nigeria assume self-sufficient attitude, despise others and view themselves as the exclusive possessor of what they have, as well as claim excellence not possessed. Unfortunately, these characterise the leadership’s sphere, not just in Nigeria but Africa as a continent and are largely responsible for leaders’ inability to provide direction, protection, orientation, shape norms or manage conflicts in their various places of authority. The bitter truth is that no matter how good a plan or system of government may be, bad leaders must bring harm to their people.
While underlying the problem of Nigeria’s underdevelopment exacerbated by the failure in the leadership system, Chinua Achebe, in his book, ‘The Trouble with Nigeria,’ stated that there was nothing wrong with Nigeria’s land or climate or water or air or anything else. He concluded that the trouble with Nigeria was simply and squarely a failure of leadership.
Looking ahead, we must think of what strategy to deploy to arrest such ugly narratives in ways that will make the NDP not end in shame like previous experience but bear the targeted result. Two, we must also fashion out ways for the present handlers of the nation to effectively diversify the nation’s revenue sources, bearing in mind that such arrangement will reduce financial risks and increase national economic stability.
Our leaders need to reassess their priorities via development of ability to give every citizen a stake in the country and its future by subsidising things that improve the earning powers of citizens – education, housing and public health. Our leaders must also understand that the economy will look after itself if democracy is protected, human rights are respected, and the rule of law is strictly adhered to.
Utomi can be reached via [email protected]