…Inauguration of the National Steering Committee for the Development of Nigeria Agenda 2050 and the Medium-Term National Development Plan 2021–2025.

It is my pleasure to address you all on this very important occasion of the formal inauguration of the National Steering Committee for the development of Successor Plans to the Nigeria Vision 20:2020 and the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (the “ERGP”) 2017–2020.

National development planning is a vital task that, if carefully conceived and diligently implemented, can transform the economic 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, was only halted in the first quarter of 2020, due to onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic. COVID-19 presents the world - and Nigeria - with a crisis as well as an opportunity. The current global health and economic crises give us an opportunity to think afresh and chart an optimal path forward.

When I launched the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, in February 2017, its objectives included:
a. Restoring and Sustaining Growth;
b. Investing in Our People; and
c. Building a Globally Competitive Economy.

The Nigeria Vision 20:2020, on the other hand, was an articulation of the long-term intent to launch Nigeria onto a path of sustained social and economic development. The ERGP shared this vision, which ensured that the country exited recession in 2017, and sustained 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 investment in human capital development, the implementation of our infrastructural roadmap, and supported social investment in our people’s lives and livelihoods.

Your Excellencies, in order to ensure continuity and efficiency in our development planning, it has become necessary to develop Successor Plans to the NV20:2020 and the ERGP, which both lapse in December this year. The main objectives of these Successor Plans are to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within the next 10 years, particularly given the World Bank’s projection that Nigeria will become the world’s third most populous country by 2050 with over 400 million people.

In order to ensure a truly consultative, participatory and inclusive planning process, the National Steering Committee will comprise representatives of:
a. One State Governor from each of the six geopolitical zones;
b. the Senate and House of Representatives;
c. Honourable Ministers and representatives of key Agencies;
d. Major Political Parties;
f. Captains of Industries as well as Labour Organizations;
g. Youth Organizations and Women’s Societies;
h. Farmers’ Associations;
i. Traditional and Religious Leaders;
j. People with Special Needs; and
k. Members of the Press.

At the heart of the Successor Plans is the partnership between the public and private sectors, with Government as the enabler of private sector investment and industry. To underscore this partnership, the National Steering Committee is to be jointly chaired by Mr. Atedo Peterside and Dr. (Mrs.) Zainab S. Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning.

The National Steering 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 to ensure the continuous implementation of the Plans 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 nation’s development planning as well as institutionalise planned outcomes for the future. I trust that our partners in the National Assembly will support us in exploring these reforms.

Furthermore, I enjoin the National Steering Committee not to lose sight of the important role Nigeria plays, on our Continent, as well as in the Global Community. The Successor Plans must, therefore, be designed to sustain national development, as well as support our regional and global strategic interests, as outlined in the African Union Agenda 2063, the ECOWAS Integration Agenda 2050 and the Sustainable Development Goals 2030.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, it is now my pleasure to formally inaugurate the National Steering Committee to oversee the development of the Nigeria Agenda 2050 and Medium-Term National Development Plan to succeed the Nigerian Vision 20:2020 and the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, 2017–2020.

I wish us all success in this very important national assignment and look forward to receiving regular reports of your deliberations.

Thank you and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.