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Published On: Tue, Jun 16th, 2020

The national dev. plan question

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The Federal Government in January gave indication it was planning a 10-year development plan to replace the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.The Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba, said that then during a meeting in his office with the Japanese Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Nigeria, Yutaka Kikuta. According to him, the ERGP is being wound down this year.“

He explained, “The National Development Plan will be a 10-year plan for Nigerians. It will be broken down into two five-year medium-term plans, from which the annual budgets would be drawn.”

We recall that a negative growth of -1.5 in GDP in 2016 provided the impetus for ERGP. The government said at the time that “in recognition of the deep weaknesses of Nigeria’s economy and the potential for further weakening, the Federal Government has developed an Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) for the period 2017–2020. The ERGP lays out the Government’s strategy for achieving the Government’s vision of sustained and inclusive growth.

“The Plan aims at economic recovery in the short-term, and structural reforms aimed at diversifying the economy to set it on a path toward sustained and inclusive growth over the medium to long-term. The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan serves as an umbrella framework that incorporates 60 national development strategies, 12 of these strategies including infrastructure, industrial and power sector development have been identified as priorities.”

Apart from saying the ERGP will come to an end this year, the minister was very economical in his explanation. But let us help him. The government, in presenting the 2020 appropriation bill to parliament, proposed to have the financial year run from January to December instead of the other way round.

Even so, why is it necessary to replace the ERGP with a national development plan discarded and buried long ago? After all, the same government admits the ERGP has been a huge success. Kikuta, in his statement, said the economic policies and priorities taken under ERGP have put Nigeria “on the right track to economic recovery and sustainability.” The Federal Government, he added, had made tremendous progress in its effort to reposition the economy.

So, why change a policy that is working fine with another? Not just another, but one that was rejected for many decades? Is it just for the sake of change? No. Something is lacking here. The government must supply it to be able to sell this policy switch to reasonable Nigerians.

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