Experts say macroeconomic constraints could deter success of development plan

Promoting stability in the nation’s macroeconomic environment has been identified as a factor critical to achieving the implementation of the National Development Plan (2021-2025) which seeks to enable Africa’s largest economy to unlock its huge potential in all sectors.

Speaking during the virtual conference ‘Nigerian economic outlook 2022’ at the weekend, experts stressed that the creation of relevant laws to guide the investment of the private sector, as well as promoting macroeconomic stability would drive effective implementation of the plan.

Launched by President Muhammadu Buhari, the plan aims to achieve accelerated, sustained, inclusive, and private sector-led growth by subsisting critical macro-structural issues in the areas of economic diversification, infrastructure gaps to support economic and social expenditures.

Sarah Omotunde-Alade, Special Adviser to the President on Finance and Economy matters, noted that while the NDP is filled with economic and social programs beneficial to the nation’s economy, ensuring enabling environment and relevant laws to protect the needed investment is critical to its success.

Alade who is also a former Deputy Governor, Economic Policy at the Central Bank of Nigeria, said the plan is the highest priority of the government as it seeks to unblock all constraints to economic growth.

She pointed to the core issues bedeviling Nigeria, including, insecurity, weak institutions, high rate of unemployment, inefficient public service delivery among others, which could also make it impossible to harvest gains from the four-year plan.

“The NDP would develop a mechanism to engage, empower and employ our teaming energetic youths, by ensuring that most Nigerian youth below the age of 35 are either in school or gainfully employed by 2025.

“There is a need to institutionalize the NDP implementation with laws at all levels of government to check frequent policy reversals. Investors need to be assured that policies will not change halfway.

”The government will implement fiscal, monetary, structural and investment policies enunciated in the plan to develop to improve social indicators and living conditions.”

According to her, Nigeria would have achieved improved competitiveness of the economy with a GDP growth of 5 to 6 percent with at least 35 million people lifted out of poverty by 2025; 21 million full-time jobs generated with the workforce leaveraged and significantly enhanced execution capacity at the national and sub-national levels.

Mike Obadan in his presentation, noted the need for active engagement of the private sector players in efforts to meet expectations, adding that the success of the plan depends largely on the private sector financing through the micro, small and medium enterprises.

According to him, while the NDP is a robust plan with a relatively large size, the projections are achievable barring negative domestic and external shocks.

“Active involvement of the private sector on plan financing and implementation is critical to its success,” he said.

Speaking on the various sectors of interest in the plan, Obadan said that the plan if successfully implemented will enhance the agricultural sector as well as the overall national food production system, increase the volume of agricultural export.

“Agriculture is a private sector activity, therefore farmers and farming enterprises are expected to take advantage of government’s intervention to boost productivity and ensure food security in the country.

“On integrated rural development, the plan aims to increase rural transportation infrastructure, minimise disparities in access to public services between rural and urban areas.

“Consequently, the broad objective of the manufacturing sector plan is to improve the manufacturing climate, output, and performance through improved infrastructure, stabilizing the macro-economy and removing regulatory constraints,” he said.

Other sectors that would be enhanced by the plan according to Obadan include; oil and gas; solid mineral, mining and steel development; culture, creative, hospitality, and tourism; business, trade, and competitiveness.

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