Immediate past Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba, said that Nigeria Agenda 2050- a perspective plan designed to transform the country into an “upper-middle income country” with a significant improvement in per capita income-had already identified and clarified where to be in 30 years’ time and how to get there.
Agba spoke on Thursday in Osogbo while delivering a paper entitled: “Strategic Thinking for Progressive Governance in the 21st Century”, at the 22nd meeting of the National Council on Development Planning (NCDP), in which he commended President Bola Tinubu for setting up a committee to reform the nation’s tax system.
He said that the perspective plan (Nigeria Agenda 2050) aimed to fully engage all resources, reduce poverty, and achieve social and economic stability.
According to him, “It also targets developing a mechanism for achieving sustainable environment consistent with global concerns about climate change,” adding that “the plan therefore presents the road map for accelerated, sustained and broad-based growth as well as provides broad frameworks for reducing unemployment, poverty, inequality, and human deprivation.”
Agba, who supervised the development of the National Development Plan (NDP) 2021-2025 and Nigeria Agenda 2050 as minister of state for budget and national planning, said that the path to that goal would pass through six Medium Term National Development Plans (NDP), namely NDP (2021-2025) (already developed and published) and subsequent national development plans covering (2026-2030), (2031-2035), (2036-2040), (2041-2045), and (2046-2050).
According to him: “The first of the medium-term plans, named NDP 2021-2025, is to make Nigeria a country that has unlocked its potential in all sectors of the economy for a sustainable, holistic, and inclusive development.
“Specifically, the Plan aims to generate 21 million full-time jobs and lift 35 million people out of poverty by 2025; thus, setting the stage for achieving the government’s commitment of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.”
He said that having set the future agenda through the above plans, the next step was to ensure effective implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and achieving the planned result.”
“To achieve these, we need to address binding domestic growth constraints through creating the needed enabling environment for sustainable economic growth and development to allow the private sector to drive the economy.
“The strategy to create the needed enabling environment for sustainable economic growth and development is contained in Volume III, which is the legal and legislatives imperatives. This volume includes 18 laws that need to be passed or amended and 10 policies for effective implementation of the NDP, 2021-2025,” he stated.
Agba said that there was an urgent need to resubmit and ensure the passage of “The Development Planning and Project Continuity Bill,” which had been in National Assembly undergoing legislative process for enactment, stressing that this would improve plan implementation majorly affected by political and policy changes.
He listed other steps to take to include strengthening the link between the Plan and Annual Budget and improving inter-sectoral collaboration, in addition to ensuring coordinated and harmonised efforts with states and creating the enabling environment for increased private sector investment.
Agba also underscored the need to ensure diligent implementation of the plan especially Volumes I, II & III, explaining that whereas “Volume I contains the policies with targets and the required investment; Volume II has the costed priority programmes and projects, while Volume III is the legal and legislatives imperatives.”
He said there was need for a mid-term review of the performance of NDP 2021-2025, stressing that this would focus on the degree to which planned results were on target, and the areas that might require improvement.
“Mid-term review should be carried out before the development of NDP 2026-2030. The report should guide the development of the next plan. In fact, the mid-term review should start NOW,” he added.
The immediate past minister also posited that for effective implementation of the plan, there was need to implement the National Monitoring & Evaluation Policy already approved by Federal Executive Council (FEC), “increase the monitoring and evaluation process to ensure that we are not only getting value for money but that we are also strategic in resource allocation; ensure that the Plan Implementation Unit already set up by the Ministry is adequately resourced, running and efficient; and, this also needs to be replicated at the Sub-national level.”
Stressing the importance of inspecting what one is expecting in order to achieve the best result, he said the government must ensure that Eye Mark App of the Ministry and the iMonitor Platform of the Budget office were up and running.
According to him: “Feedbacks collated from citizens should be used to monitor and enhance project delivery, as the use of feedback will elicit citizens and Civil Society Organisations’ (CSOs’) participation in tracking progress and performance of government’s interventions.”
Meanwhile, Agba took the opportunity of the occasion to commend the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in his paper for setting up a committee to reform Nigeria’s tax system, for enhanced collection and with a target of at least 18% tax-to-GDP ratio within the next 3 years without stifling investment or economic growth.
He said that “This is part of a push by government to curb its reliance on borrowing to finance public spending. This target is seemingly aggressive, but all efforts should be made to achieve it.”
He cited a report by the World Bank that “tax revenues above 15 percent of a country’s GDP are a key ingredient for economic growth and, ultimately, poverty reduction,” pointing out that “Nigeria’s Revenue-to-GDP ratio of 10.86% is low when compared to 21 percent in Angola, 28 percent in Botswana, 13 percent in Ghana, 16 percent in Kenya, 19% in Senegal, and 28% in South Africa.”