Govt raises 405-man panel on Vision 2020
From Abiodun Fagbemi, Ilorin
A 405-man panel on the implementation of Vision 2020 and the seven-point agenda of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua has been named by the Federal Goverment.
The committee, made up of a steering body and business support group, will be inaugurated by Yar’Adua on Monday, February 16, 2009.
Minister of National Planning, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman, who made this public at the weekend in Ilorin, Kwara State, said the panel would bedivided into several working groups, with 57 thematic areas.
He said: “We have about 235 members of the business support groups and 70 members of the Steering Committee. We will consult with other Nigerians. These are my immediate plans and by October this year, I hope to be able to make available the document about the Vision 2020.”
Also, policy to serve as catalyst for the seven-point agenda may be out before the end of the first quarter of this year.
Usman said the policy would ensure that the agenda was effectively delivered under a strict monitoring system by the citizens.
He said even though the Vision 2020 goal was a laudable one, without the formulation of an effective agenda for its implementation, it would be an exercise in futility. He cited India, which had in the past embraced the concept of agenda-setting and emerged as a virile economy among the comity of nations.
He told reporters that “we are trying to translate the seven-point agenda of Mr. President into a national policy. We need to translate them into deliverable things. We will tell Nigerians what we will do, say in a year, and people will be able to monitor it. This will fall under a National Development Plan.
“We will be able to speak on a very clear, deliverable and robust framework. We would transform the agenda into medium term planning. What is needed in this country is to go back to planning. The problem we are having is because we have abandoned planning culture. Countries that have a planning culture have come out of the financial global crisis,” he added.
Promising the drafting of the private sector into the Vision 2020 plan, Usman, who is the immediate past Minister of Finance, regretted that Nigeria had, since the disclosure of the Vision 2020 not taken the vision beyond mere rhetorics.
“Recently at a tiny nation called Trinadad and Tobago, they gave us a copy of their own vision. But in Nigeria where is our own copy? But now the framework is ready. It is not the vision of President Yar’Adua alone, it is the vision of Nigerians. We will kick-start that with a meeting on Thursday.”
Usman, who lauded the initiative of the Kwara State government on commercial agriculture at Shonga, said he would tour other states of the federation with the project, especially concerning the involvement of the private sector in agriculture policy.
He said the sudden drop in the price of crude oil in the international market would definitely affect the nation’s economy and canvassed for proper planning in the same maner as the Indian economy, “going through its 11th five-year planning consistently” to get out of the economic doldrums.”