The delicate balance between the drive for increased internally generated revenue and protection for small businesses was crucial for national development, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said.
Speaking during the closing of the 19th Joint Planning Board (JPB) meeting in Abuja on Friday, the VP said the balance between improving IGR while not stifling business especially small businesses, was at the heart of the country’s policy development, planning and regulation.
The theme of the meeting organized by the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, in collaboration with states ministries of budget, economic planning and other relevant interest groups was “National Development Planning in Nigeria: Issues and Challenges,”
Osinbajo said the primary purpose of planning the economy was to accelerate growth and national development outcomes to improve the lives of the people.
“To be meaningful, our planning processes must lead to tangible outcomes in the form of growth that exceeds population growth, real growth in the sense of growth which creates jobs, opportunities and circumstances for the well-being of the people,” Osinbajo said.
He said it was important when drawing up national plans to take account of the interests of the more vulnerable members of the society.
“This is why social investment and social protection are at the heart of the Buhari Administration’s policy interventions.
“Indeed, top of mind for Mr President is how to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in this decade as we radically re-engineer the productive base of our economy in agriculture, manufacturing, mining and the digital and creative sectors.”
The Vice-President said that priorities for planning are the structural transformation of the economy from low value-adding activities to high value-adding activities and increased job opportunities for our huge youth population.
He said sometimes the implementation failures were due to resource and capacity constraints, but we must also ponder on the possibility that our plans might in some cases, not realistic and not grounded in our objective reality.
“In other words, is the lack of implementation due to the fact that our visions and plans have been unduly fanciful.”
Osinbajo also said that the outcomes and recommendations would be of immense importance to the ongoing Medium-Term National Development Plans (MTNDP 2021-2025) and Agenda 2050.
“I also look forward to the formal presentation of the Report of this Meeting to the National Economic Council (NEC).”
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said the meeting was to discuss a new approach to adopt towards formulating effective national plans that would serve as the successor to the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020 which ended in December.
Ahmed said the ERGP was crafted in the wake of the global economic meltdown in 2016 to pull the country out of recession.
The pandemic, the minister said, impacted on the economy by a wave of recession in 2020 which was short-lived by proactive measures put in place by the administration.
She said that the experience called for an urgent strategy to develop a more resilient and sustainable economic model that could stand the test of time.
The Minister of State, Finance Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba, said the discussions were very enriching, especially coming at a time that the MTNDP 2021-2025 and Nigeria Agenda 2050 were being developed.
“The outlook for the Plan is to ensure that a holistic and robust plan document which enhances synergy and inclusiveness is delivered to Nigerians.”
Agba said that contributions, time and efforts dedicated to the various sessions of the programme were immeasurable.
He said that the ministry has harvested invaluable comments, observations and recommendations that would further enrich the MTNDP 2021-2025.
“Also, the approach for the Plan as you may be aware is a clear departure from the usual norm because all relevant stakeholders were engaged at every level of the process.
“I assure all of us that the Ministry, working closely with you, will finalize and launch the plan within the shortest possible time.
“My appeal is that all stakeholders including the MDAs, states and organized private sector should ensure that the objectives of the plan are achieved.
“The plan is also tied to other regional development plans such as SDGs, AU-2063 and ECOWAS Vision Document,” Agba said. (NAN)