At the end of 2021, the Federal Government (FG) released Nigeria’s National Development Plan (NDP) for 2021 to 2025. The NDP does as advertised—it lays out the government’s plan for Nigeria’s economy over the next five years. In President Buhari’s foreword (which he definitely penned himself), he describes the NDP as a “medium-term blueprint designed to unlock the country’s potentials in all sectors of the economy”.
The NDP is not Nigeria’s first development plan. It succeeds the 2017-2020 Economic Recovery & Growth Plan (ERGP). It’s also not Nigeria’s only development plan. Shorter-term documents like the 2022-2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and even annual government budgets are part of the government’s economic planning framework. All of these—the NDP, MTEF, and annual budgets—are created for two main purposes. To give economic stakeholders a clear sense of government strategy to plan their affairs and introduce an important accountability mechanism into government economic policy.
Every country in the world tries to do this in some way. China takes it very seriously with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) five-year rolling plans that have run since the 50s. Last year, the CCP launched its fourteenth plan, which will run till 2025. It will not surprise you that these plans are considered close to the gold standard in development planning circles. More overtly, free-market economies are looser with their planning. For example, the United Kingdom relies on biannual budgets in March and October.
Nigeria’s National Development Plan (2021-2025) should be seen as one of the most important documents for Nigeria and Nigerians. Reading the entire 200-page document is probably your best crash course on Nigeria’s economic and policy environment. There is no surprise then that there is a lot to unpack in the NDP, from the government’s plans regarding gender inequality to job creation targets stretching to 2025.