Experts say plan a herculean task
Cite govt’s failures in reform implementation
Ten months after the expiration of the Economic Growth Recovery Plan (EGRP) introduced in 2017 to restore growth, people investment and the building of a competitive economy by the year 2020, the federal government plans to unveil in October, a Medium-Term National Development Plan (MTNDP) 2021-2025.
In the earlier 2017 plan, the government had proposed to successfully deliver a gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 7.0 percent, an inflation rate of 9.9 percent, oil production of 2.5 million barrels per day and an unemployment rate of 11.2 percent. On the contrary, however, available data at the end of 2020 showed that the government failed to achieve these goals as real GDP growth stood at -1.9 percent, inflation rate was 15.8 percent, oil production at 1.4 million barrels per day and unemployment rate was 33.3 percent.
Although the covid-19 pandemic may have exacerbated the subdued performance in 2020, economic analysts with an understanding of the issue are pessimistic on the likelihood of the federal government achieving the set goals in the plan. This, they said, is based on the historic nature of government failures in the implementation of reforms and other plans.
United Capital Research analysts said: “Looking ahead, we remain pessimistic about the likelihood of achieving the goals and objectives set forth. Given Nigeria’s history of government failure to fully implement its economic reforms goals, as well as MTNDP’s short timeline, this is not far from a “herculean task”. In addition, we note the historical trend of elaborate policy documents.”
The Nigerian government appears to be seeking to make amends with the introduction of the MTNDP as a replacement for the EGRP of 2017, still aiming to lift millions of Nigerians out of poverty while ensuring stability of the economy, economic development, as well as good governance.
According to the new national development plan, the macroeconomic goals are to attain a broad-based five-year average economic growth of 3.8 percent and a more competitive non-oil sector with less dependence on the oil sector. Also, the estimated real gross domestic growth during the period is believed to be adequate to lift 10 million people out of poverty.
Included in the bargain being offered, the Medium-Term National Development Plan projects the creation of 25 million new jobs, with 10 million from direct growth impact and 15 million from skill acquisitions and other interventions, ensuring that the poverty rate falls to 31.0 percent by 2025, compared to 40.0 percent in 2020.
However, the definitive goal is that by the end of 2025, Nigeria is expected to have laid the foundation for a strong institutional structure and systems driving the efficient implementation of at least 60 percent of the targets in the development plan.