Text of the Press Conference on the Medium-Term National Development Plans (2021 – 2025 & 2026-2030) And Perspective Plan, Nigeria Agenda 2050, By Minister Clem Ikanade Agba

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It is my pleasure to address you, gentlemen of the press, today on the steps we have taken so far towards the development of Medium Term National Development Plans (MTNDPs) 2021 – 2025 & 2026 – 2030 and the Perspective Plan, tagged “Nigeria Agenda 2050”. As you are aware, Government policies in the outgoing decade had been predicated on the Nigeria Vision (NV) 20:2020, which is being implemented through the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017 – 2020. NV20:2020 was envisaged to place Nigeria among the top 20 economies in the world with a minimum GDP of US$900 billion and a per capita income of not less than US$4,000 per annum at the end of 2020 while ERGP came as a child of necessity to pull Nigeria out of recession with negative GDP growth rate of 1.5% in 2016 to the path of positive and sustainable economic growth.

2.         Clearly, the terminal date for the plans is December 31st, 2020. Although, Nigeria has yet to attain the 20th position in the World economy and the economy is not growing at double digit, it is however safe to state that implementation of ERGP pulled the economy out of recession unto the path of economic growth as the economy experienced eleven quarters of consecutive GDP growth since exiting recession.  The GDP grew from 1.91% in 2018 to 2.27% in 2019 but declined to 1.87% in the first quarter of 2020 and -6.1% in the 2nd quarter due to the impact of COVID-19.

3.         We have four months to the end of the implementation of the two plans. His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, aware of the terminal dates and to avoid a vacuum, approved and directed the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to prepare successor plans from which Government could derive its policies going forward. The new Plans – Medium Term National Development Plan 2021 – 2025 & 2026-2030 and Agenda 2050 are therefore successor plans to ERGP and NV20:2020 respectively. I am therefore very pleased to brief the Gentlemen of the Press today, Thursday, 3rd September, 2020 on how far we have gone in carrying out the Presidential directive regarding the preparation of the new National Development Plans.

4.         Ladies and Gentlemen, we want to develop an acceptable national development plan and this requires the involvement of critical stakeholders in the process. The process we have adopted is therefore participatory and inclusive. The arms of Government at all levels of Governments, Private Sector (formal and informal), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Opinion Leaders, Public Commentators, Religious Organisations, Traditional Leaders and various Pressure Groups like Labour, Youths, etc are involved. Mindful of the diversity of the Country, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR approved the setting up of a governance structure to ensure well-coordinated approach to the eventual midwifing of the two Plans.

5.         Top on the ladder of the governance structure is the Steering Committee (SC), which is co-chaired by well-respected Nigerians representing the Organised Private Sector in the person of economist and investment banker, Mr. Atedo Peterside and the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr. (Mrs.) Zainab S. Ahmed for the Public Sector. Also in the Governance structure are the Central Working Group (CWG), headed by a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and currently Special Adviser to the President on Finance and Economy, Dr. (Mrs.) Sarah Alade and 26 Technical Working Groups (TWGs), comprising experts with diverse experiences on identified thematic areas for the plans.

6.         Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to announce to you that we have made some significant progress.  On May 4, 2020, to be precise, we inaugurated a key Technical Working Group, the “Macroeconomic Framework and Growth Diagnostic” group to identify the policies and provide macroeconomic projections for the new Plans, while taking into consideration the performance of the outgoing plans and sector policy documents in the past periods. The Macroeconomic Framework is expected to provide guidance to the work of the remaining 25 Technical Working Groups as the information provided by the Macroeconomic Framework would have revealed the behaviour of the macroeconomic variables and human development indicators considered by the 25 TWGs in relation to the 46 sectors of the Nigeria National Accounts Statistics.

7.         The other 25 Technical Working Groups were inaugurated on June 11, 2020 and they commenced work immediately while the Central Working Group was inaugurated on the 7th of July, 2020. The following Technical Working Groups were inaugurated on the 11th of June, 2020:
⦁              Agriculture, Food Security and Rural Development;
⦁              Manufacturing and Industrialization;
⦁              Transportation;
⦁              Housing and Urban Development;
⦁              Cross Cutting Issues (Employment, Gender and
People with Special Needs);
⦁             Education and Manpower Development;
⦁              Health and Nutrition;
⦁              Environment, Social and Regional Development and
Disaster Management;
⦁              Digital Economy, Bioeconomy, Science, Technology
and Innovation;
⦁              Culture, Tourism, Creative Industry and Hospitality;
⦁              Defence, Peace and Security;
⦁              Governance, Institutions, Administration of Justice,
Anti-Corruption and National Orientation;
⦁              Business Environment, Trade Competitiveness and
Product Space Mapping;
⦁              Water Resources and Sanitation;
⦁              Infrastructure;
⦁              Power and Alternative Energy;
⦁              Oil and Gas;
⦁              Finance Sector and Capital Market;
⦁              Foreign Policy and International Relations;
⦁             Population and Identity Management;
⦁             Solid Minerals, Mining and Steel Development;
⦁             Implementation, Communication, Engagement,
Financing, Monitoring and Evaluation;
⦁             Youths and Sport Development;
⦁             Women Affairs; and
⦁             Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection.

8.         At the inauguration, the TWGs were charged among others to review existing plans, policies, programmes and projects in their thematic areas; conduct SWOT Analysis of their thematic areas/sectors; review the assumptions, parameters and forecasts used in the previous sectoral plans and align them with the current realities; consult relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in their thematic areas for the relevant data; oversee public consultations where feasible and facilitate discussions to assess and review memoranda received from the public; provide accurate, evidence-based information, programmatic implications and make recommendations on key areas; review existing research reports and share findings/reports; consider the advantages and disadvantages of the approaches for policy topics being explored; and address any other critical issue(s) to facilitate the delivery of the task.

9.         I am happy to announce to you gentlemen of the Press that the Macroeconomic Framework and Growth Diagnostic TWG, after three months and two weeks of tedious and rigorous work, has produced a Macroeconomic Framework report, which had been shared with the Central Working Group and presented to the remaining 25 TWGs on Wednesday, 19th August, 2020 to guide the ongoing work on their thematic areas. The Macroeconomic Framework report would also be shared with the Steering Committee and Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC) by the Central Working Group in due course.

10.       In formulating and coming up with the Macroeconomic Framework for the Medium-Term National Development Plans 2021 – 2025 & 2026-2030, the Ministry, in conjunction with the members of the TWG agreed on the economic models to be adopted for the exercise. The Econometric Model and Input-Output Table were combined and used together for the analysis and projections for economic and development variables using the 46 sectors of the National Accounts with 7 blocks (including development block) while employing the tools of ISLM analysis. Development blocks followed World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) RMSM-X+P and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) inspired models. Statistics are computed for 102 endogenous variables while the Ordinary Least Square (OLS) methods were used for estimation of the equations and identities.

11.       However, for the Perspective Plan, which is the Agenda 2050, the Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) and System Dynamics models were considered as best for it as the period under consideration is beyond the predictive ability of econometric and input-output models (short and medium term dynamics), that is considering the dynamic nature of economic variable and economic agents over a long period. To this end, and in view of the dynamic nature of the economy, the Dynamic Computable General Equilibrium (DCGE) and integrated Sustainable Development Goals (iSDGs) Simulation model, a system dynamic model developed for global use by the United Nations (UN) System for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), were used. Work has reached an advanced stage on the finalisation of the long term models and it is hoped that it will be used for projections for macroeconomic and development blocks of the perspective plan – the Agenda 2050.

12.       Distinguished members of the Fourth Estate of the Realm, I am equally happy to inform you that the other 25 TWGs and the Central Working Group have been working assiduously since they were inaugurated. The 25 TWGs, for instance, have produced a diagnostic analysis of the sectors covered in their thematic areas. In conducting the diagnostic analysis, the teams used the PESTLE and SWOT analysis tools to analyse the status of the sectors, including reviewing of existing policies and legislations; plans and strategies; strategic analysis of drivers; and assignment of roles and responsibilities matrix as well as conduct of baselines and assumptions assessments. The Macroeconomic Framework report was presented to the TWGs on Wednesday, 19th August, 2020. The 25 TWGs are expected to use the information provided by the Framework to finalise the diagnostic analysis and produce the draft chapters of the thematic areas covered by them in the days ahead.

13.       The Central Working Group (CWG) that was inaugurated on the 7th of July 2020 has continued to provide the required and necessary guidance and direction for the TWGs. Recently, the CWG reviewed the economy-wide activities, clustering the 25 TWGs into 5 major thematic sectors as follows:
⦁          Governance, Security and International Relations
⦁          High Growth Sector
⦁          Macroeconomic Reconstruction and Stability
⦁          Social Development and Transformation
⦁          National Development Plans Writing, Communications, Implementation, Monitoring and Continuity

14.       The Central Working Group has also divided its members in line with the identified clusters and in the up-coming days, would be working directly and in cooperation and collaboration with the TWGs to deepen the process and provide additional guidance to ensure that there is proper integration with the thematic areas, policy priorities of government as well as the policy thrusts, growth drivers and revenue drivers.

15.       Most importantly Gentlemen of the Press, we are concerned with deepening participation of all stakeholders in the development of the new plans.  We are indeed committed to producing truly national development plans and not just Federal Government Plans. For this reason, six state Governors, one from each of the six geopolitical zones, representative of major political parties are involved at the Steering Committee level for the development of the Plans. In fact, we have recently co-opted the Secretariat of the Governors Forum into the Central Working Group and requested for nomination of two people from each state of the Federation and FCT. At the moment, we are in the process of engaging the grassroots through the states and the local government in the planning process which shall take place via town hall meetings where memoranda from town development associations and traditional rulers shall be received. All these efforts are to deepen engagement, participation and ownership.

16.       In addition, we are looking forward to developing an inclusive and participatory national Plan that is sufficiently comprehensive with the capacity to accelerate the attainment of various regional and global Agendas, including the AU Agenda 2063, ECOWAS integration Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals 2030. In line with this thinking, the TWGs are already incorporating and applying the concept of Futurology in their work. We expect that the final document would not only postulate possible, probable and preferable futures for the citizens of Nigeria, but also come up with measures for creation of the future we desire. We also desire to play a sizeable role in the product complexity space internationally and thus work towards adopting measures to easing constraints that have hindered the economy from attaining its potential, particularly on the product mapping space.

17.       Gentlemen of the Press, ladies and gentlemen, the deadline given to the TWGs to submit their work on the MTNDP, 2021 – 2025 to CWG is 30th September, 2020, while CWG is to turn in its report at the end of October, 2020 with the launching of the Plan in December by Mr. President. This is to ensure that annual budgets, including that of year 2021 is derived from the medium term plans. To this end, in preparing the MTEF being used for the preparation of the 2021 Budget, which was approved by the National Assembly, the fundamentals of the Macroeconomic Framework for the Medium Term Plan 2021 – 2025 were brought into focus and incorporated so that the implementation of the Plan begins in effect from the 2021 Budget. Similarly, the macroeconomic indices used for the development of the Economic Sustainability Plan of N2.3 trillion stimulus package to hedge the economy from sliding into deep and prolonged recession due to the impact of COVID-19 have been integrated into the Medium-Term National Development Plan.

18.       These steps were all taken in the beginning to ensure that, henceforth, annual budgets are derived from National Development Plans, thereby fostering plan discipline in successive years. We intend to deepen consultations with sub-national governments to ensure that plan discipline is entrenched in the system if we are to make the desired changes in the economy.

19.       In the Democracy Day speech of 2019, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, announced the desire of Government to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty on to the path of prosperity in the next 10 years, literally implying an average of 10 million people annually. This remains one of the cardinal focuses of the MTNDP 2021 – 2025 & 2026 – 2030. The new Plans will also focus on creating jobs, deepening economic activities and providing enabling environment for thriving of private sector.

20.       Consultations are currently on-going with the TWGs and key MDAs and other managers of the key sectors of the economy. In the days ahead, we will continue to solicit input and memoranda from all stakeholders for purposes of incorporation into the Plan. We are currently planning webinar programmes as part of sensitization and engagement process on the new Plans. We therefore seek your cooperation in propagating the development of the Medium-Term National Development Plan 2021 -2025 & 2026-2030 and Perspective Plan, Nigeria Agenda 2050 – to Nigerians both at home and abroad as well as the International Community.

21. Finally, the second MTNDP (2026 – 2030) report is due in February 2021; while final report for the Nigeria Agenda 2050 is due in July 2021

22.       I thank you all for your kind attention.

■      Prince Clem Ikanade Agba, Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, addressed the press conference on Thursday, September 3, 2020.

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