In this post, we will look at the Problems of Nigeria Development Plan and Possible Solutions. This article is useful for policy makers, public office holders and researchers.
When the word development comes to mind, you think of growth, change for the better, advancement, significant progress and such. These require a set of actions, intended steps, usually related of course to bring about the said development.
There has to be a plan; a development plan. Most countries have one. Every country should have one, most especially developing countries like Nigeria. These words however do not come to mind when you think of Nigeria. Is it that there is no development plan? Oh there is and there has always been.
Nigeria has had quite a number of them actually – the Colonial Development Plan of 1958-1968, Structural Adjustment Programme, the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy, the Strategy for Attaining the Millennium Development Goals and the 7-Point Agenda to mention a few.
What then is the problem? Why does it seem like there is no development plan in place? That is what this article is about. The problems of Nigeria’s development plan and possible solutions.
First, let us define development plan. Note that it could be viewed in many different ways. From the above however, we can deduct development plan to be strategic goals well stated by a person, organization or a country to be met within a specified time frame that results in significant growth.
Now for a country like Nigeria, this means deliberate actions taken by the government and the masses to cause change for the better in all sectors of the economy. Take the 7-Point Agenda by Former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s government, it sought to deal with
- Power and Energy
- Food Security and Agriculture
- Wealth Creation and Employment
- Mass Transportation
- Land Reform
This plan looks good on paper, sounds so good to the ears and even to the mind’s eye – Vision 2020; all good as gold to tackle many issues in different sectors. It is the year 2018, and it looks as though the country is still where it was at the inception of the plna. What then is the problem?
Problems of Nigeria’s Development Plan
1. Poor Data Collection
Enough emphasis cannot be placed on the role proper population census has to play in a good development plan. The figures which should help the government for effective planning are sometimes manipulated for political gain.
Asides this is also the issue of inadequate equipment and manpower which greatly undermines the effectiveness of the federal office of statistics. Poor data collection, poor record keeping and failure to conduct successive population censuses are just but a few of the problems affecting Nigeria’s development plan.
2. Conflict between Different Tiers of Government
Conflicts between federal and state governments in planning objectives can be a major distortion of the national development plan itself.
3. Change of Government Officials
With new elections come new government officials. In cases where the incumbent officials differ in political party from the predecessors’, continuation of projects may never happen or will be stalled and new ones started.
This is a major problem since most of these projects geared towards development hardly ever come to completion before there is another change in power.
4. Inadequacy of Planning Institutions
There are quite a number of committees set up such as the National Planning Commission and the Joint Planning Board Conference of Ministers/Commissioners for Economic Planning.
Major stakeholders in these committees include state governments, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and other key institutions. These stakeholders are responsible for preparing sectorial inputs. Most of them however, have no prior training to handle development planning adequately.
The Corruption Perception Index by Transparency International ranked Nigeria 148th of 180 countries surveyed for corruption. It is true that corruption has eaten deep and has been a major issue in various sectors of the Nigerian economy.
The vast majority of the personnel handling development plans, both government officials and contractors of the developmental projects alike are self-seeking. With huge sums of money unaccounted for every now and again, it is sad to say that money required for development is being embezzled forfeiting the aim of the plans.
6. Poor Information Availability
The masses have always been concerned about the state of affairs in Nigeria, even more so in recent times. There is nonetheless, a lack of adequate information available to them on the development plans being put in place.
When the objectives underlying the plan are not well communicated and the public and private sectors are not consulted or well-informed either, it results in poor contribution on the part of the masses and this generally poses a problem to development plans in Nigeria.
The vast majority of Nigerians seek advancement, the elite few leave the shores of the country to enjoy such advancement, and even Nigerians in diaspora hope for this development for their country.
This is how much the citizens of Nigeria seek development and it was no surprise when the masses voted in the present government when they preached “change”.
How then do we achieve this change for the better?
Possible Solutions to Nigeria’s Development Plan
1. Better Resource Control
Human capital development should be greatly encouraged since the efficient use of human resources will cause rapid economic growth. Also, allowing more resource control at the local levels of government and creating a system that holds them accountable will greatly improve the country’s development at these levels.
This will also see to maximum development in every state and not just a select few as is the case presently.
2. Discipline in Planning
As earlier stated, change in government officials brings about change in policies and projects. These new projects compete for resources with already approved ones and most times, the plan is distorted. Laws should be enacted to enforce discipline in the completion developmental projects no matter the ruling party.
3. Mass Education on Development Plans
Mass media should be employed to educate the people on plans being considered, its objectives, strategic implementation plans and feedback mechanism installed. This will go a long way to ensure commitment of the masses to bring these plans to realization.
4. Efficient Data Collection
The relationship between a good development plan and efficient data collection cannot be overemphasized. The data gotten greatly influences the projection of the economic needs of the people and requirements of the nation generally.
Effective collection of data and record keeping will result in effective plans and alongside other factors, cause the needed development.
5. Proper Financial Management
The bulk of Nigeria’s revenue is derived from the oil sector. Asides poor projections over expected revenue, the scandals propagating in the oil sector must be put in check.
The EFCC is doing a good job curbing financial crimes.
Nonetheless, special attention should be given to ensure money recovered or allotted for development projects is put to good use and penalty meted out to defaulters.
This was saved for last because it has to do with every individual in Nigeria; the President, the governor, the minister, the local government chairperson, the man on the street, the woman and the child.
The spirit of patriotism in every citizen will in no small measure advance the course of development in Nigeria. It is not about what the government does for you or what you do for the government, it is about civic-mindedness.
Finally, it is important to note that these proffered solutions will accomplish much independently to bring about change for the better. Collectively though, they will cause significant progress in infrastructural development, job creation, deepened reforms and ultimately national development.
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