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ABC of Jonathan’s transformation agenda
The breakdown of President Goodluck Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda, with which he hopes to turn the country around by the end of his tenure in 2015. The report is based on a summary of the Federal Government’s key priority policies, programmes and projects coordinated by the National Planning Commission (NPC). Leon Usigbe writes
PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan rode to power on the back of a promised transformation agenda, which he is virtually set to get off the ground. Throughout his campaign, he refrained from making specific pledges, only speaking, in the main, about his intention to change the ways things were done and give the country a new sense of direction. It was a situation that left the transformation agenda in an abstract form in the minds of many Nigerians. But now, it would appear that the agenda has been properly articulated and can be accessed by interested citizens. The transformation agenda is planned for between 2011 and 2015, which is the duration of the present administration and it is necessitated by the need to correct the flaws in the country’s drive for development where there is absence of long-term perspective, and lack of continuity, consistency and commitment (3Cs) to agreed policies. This government believes that the culminating effect of these has been growth and development of the Nigerian economy without a concomitant improvement in the overall welfare of Nigerian citizens.
To the Jonathan administration, the disregard for these 3Cs has resulted in rising unemployment, inequality and poverty and it is therefore hard pressed to come with a holistic transformation of the Nigerian state with a strategy that gives cognizance to these 3Cs in the duration of the administration.
Government based the Transformation Agenda and draws its inspiration from the Vision 20:2020 and the first National Implementation Plan (NIP) according to the summary of federal key priority policies, programmes. It aims to deepen the effects and provide a sense of direction. The agenda is based on a set of priority policies and programmes which, when implemented, would transform the Nigerian economy to meet the future needs of the people.
Macroeconomic framework and economic direction
Government is projecting a baseline GDP growth rate of 11.7 per cent per annum for the period 2011-2015, as it hopes that it will translate to real and nominal GDP of about N428.6billion and N73.2trillion respectively at the end of the programme period. It assumes that the projected GDP growth of the period will be driven largely by the oil and gas, solid minerals, agriculture, ICT equipment and softwares, telecommunication, wholesale and retail trade, tourism and entertainment, manufacturing and building and construction sectors.
A total investment of N40.75trillion in nominal terms is also projected for the period. The public sector will account for N24.45trillion or 60 per cent, while the remaining N16.30trillion or 40 per cent is expected to be invested by the private sector. Overall, public sector investment plan is made up of N11.59 trillion for states and local governments respectively.
The key policies to be pursued by government during the programme period are as follows:
a. Ensuring greater harmony between fiscal and monetary policy. In this regard, the National Economic Management Team will be strengthened to facilitate effective coordination of fiscal and monetary policies.
b. Pursuit of sound macroeconomic policies, including fiscal prudence supported by appropriate monetary policy to contain inflation at single digit.
c. The budget process shall be reviewed to provide greater clarity of roles between the executive and legislature and to ensure that the appropriation bill is enacted into law within the first month of any year. The direction of policy shall draw inspiration from the US system and concentrate on setting allocation priorities rather than micro-budgeting or contesting figures with the executive.
d. The existing revenue allocation formula shall be reviewed to achieve a more balanced fiscal federalism. This is expected to pave the way for more effective implementation of programmes at the subnational level.
e. Institutionalising the culture of development planning at all levels of government and ensuring that the annual capital budget allocation takes a cue from medium and long term development plans. Towards this end, government wants the National Assembly to expedite the passage of the Planning and Project Continuity Bill in order to strengthen the Plan-Budget link and reduce the high incidence of abandoned projects.
Government will pursue certain policy measures to reinvigorate various sectors of the economy and enhance their employment generating potentials, including implementing a youth employment safety net support programme that includes conditional cash transfer and vocational training; development of industrial clusters; reviewing of university curricular to align with industry job requirements and promotion of apprenticeship/work experience programmes and joint ventures; enforcement of mandatory sub-contracting and partnering with locals by foreign construction companies and implementation of mandatory skills transfer to Nigerians by foreign construction companies.
Public expenditure management
Government is concerned that the sub-optimality of the expenditure profile of the Federal Government of Nigeria since 1999 has seen recurrent spending consistently crowded out capital expenditure, exacerbating the already abysmal state of infrastructure. Recurrent expenditure has fluctuated between 47.5% in 1999 to 80.29 per cent in 2003, while capital expenditure accounted for only 19.71 per cent of total government expenditure. It notes that it has since increased continually to a nigh of 38.37 per cent of total expenditure in 2009. It has grown much worse in 2011 with government borrowing to finance recurrent expenditures. To remedy the situation, under the transformation agenda, government will entrench a culture of accountability by beginning to sanction and prosecute officers that breach established financial management rules and regulations. The monetization policy will also be strictly enforced.
The Transformation Agenda’s policies on governance are motivated by Nigeria’s inability to decisively tackle most development challenges such as poverty, unemployment, security and deplorable state of infrastructure. These include political governance, economic governance, corporate governance and effectiveness of institutions. During the life of this administration, the policies and programmes directed at addressing governance challenges, will focus on the public service; security, law and order; the legislature; anti-corruption measures and institution; the judiciary; economic coordination and support for private investment. The critical policy thrust of governance will be to maximise the benefits the citizenry derive from governance through more effective and efficient use of public resources, proper financial management and fiscal prudence. This entails adequate emphasis on the attainment of law and order, guarantee of safety of lives and property and the provision of an environment in which people find happiness and fulfilment.
Justice and judiciary
The policy thrusts of the justice and judiciary sector will be achieving greater independence for the judiciary in terms of funding, improving capacity and efficiency in judicial service delivery, eliminating all forms of corruption in the administration of justice in Nigeria, enhancing the capacity of the justice ministry to superintend prosecution and improving professionalism in legal practice for better service delivery.
Foreign policy and economic diplomacy
Nigeria’s foreign missions are to be properly focused and well funded in order to meet the foreign policy goals of the country. Government may rationalise missions and appoint honorary consuls to deal with consular issues in areas where Nigeria’s interest does not loom large as practiced by other countries.
Under the planned period, the thrust of the policy will be to facilitate the creation of a dynamic, constitutionally effective and public responsive legislature that is proactive in its legislative duties and independent but aware of its constitutional partnership with the executive and judicial arms of government. Other policy measures include regular auditing of the activities and publication of annual reports of the national and state legislatures to promote greater transparency and accountability in the use of public funds; promote greater public interest in the scrutiny of legislative actions; and inform public debate to these ends.
Attention will be paid to human capital development policies, programmes and projects because of government’s belief that investing in human capital development is critical.
Under Priority Policies for the Development of Education, the Jonathan administration will promote primary enrolment of all children of school-going age, irrespective of the income profile of the policies; engage in the provision of infrastructure such as classrooms across all levels, so as to ease over-crowding, increase access and reduce pupil/teacher ratio; and enhance the efficiency, resourcefulness and competence of teachers and other education al personnel through training, capacity building and motivation.
For the health sector, the underpinning policy for the inputs towards achieving the human capital development goal of the Vision 20: 2020 strategy is the National Strategic Health Development Plan (NSHDP). The NSHDP is the vehicle for actions at all levels of the health care delivery system which seeks to foster the achievement of the MDGs and other local and international targets and declaration commitments.
Labour and productivity
Here, the agenda is to focus on the implementation of the National Action Plan on Employment Creation (NAPEC) targeted at creating five million new jobs annually within the next three years, establishment of more skills acquisition centres; implementation of local content policy in all the sectors, especially in the oil and gas industry in order to boost job creation in the country.
The transformation agenda also provides for Key Policies for the Real Sector under the plan period. Its policies for developing the seven growth drivers are agriculture and food security, manufacturing, and oil and gas. Under agriculture and food security, apart from securing food and the food needs of the country, government will enhance generation of national and social wealth through greater export and import substitution, enhance capacity for value addition leading to industrialisation and employment opportunities, and ensures efficient exploitation and utilisation of available agricultural resources; and enhance the development and dissemination of appropriate and efficient technologies for rapid adoption.
Under manufacturing, the agenda seeks to promote private sector investments through the creation of an enabling environment that allows for substantial improvement in efficiency, productivity and profitability, significantly increase local manufacturing local content and linkages with other sectors of the economy, ensure global competiveness for manufactured goods, make Nigerian manufactured goods major foreign exchange earners and achieve rapid and sustained economic growth through broadening of the nation’s productive base.
In oil and gas, the focus will also be on the promotion of private sector investment in both the upstream and downstream activities of the oil and gas, deregulation of the industry and promotion of environmentally friendly oil and gas exploration and exploitation methods; strengthening capacity building programmes especially in core technical areas; provision of funding mechanisms for pre-bidding geosciences and surveys of deepwater offshore, gas flare-down to reduce pollutions and increase supply for domestic use and power generation, and local content development.
Infrastructure policies, programmes and projects
Government will seek to address the infrastructure deficit in the country in key development areas such as power, transportation, housing, Information Communication Technology (ICT),Federal Capital Territory ( FCT) and Niger Delta.
The Transformation Agenda stresses the critical importance of these areas in the national development. Between 2011 and 2015, key priority policies will be pursued to develop infrastructure and consequently engender sustained growth and development in the country.
Government envisages that the total proposed investment in the power sector during the period is about N1, 896 trillion. This will cover investments in four areas of power generation, transmission, distribution and alternative energy. This expenditure aims at increasing generation and transmission capacity in order to provide adequate and sustainable power, intensifying rural electrification efforts in a more efficient manner; and achieving optimal energy mix using the most appropriate technology.
The strategies to be adopted in achieving these include creating a deregulated and competitive electric power sector to attract foreign and local investments; ensuring a viable commercial framework for the electric power sector including a tariff regime that promotes transparency, guarantees security of investments and a reasonable rate of return on investments; ensuring the transmission capacity and providing redundancies in the transmission system so as to ensure a fully integrated network that minimises transmission losses while strengthening grid security.
Information and Communication Technology
The proposed investment for the ICT sector between 2011 and 2015 is N22.2 billion. The agenda will focus on the development of a national Knowledge Based Economy (KBE) 10-year Strategy Plan, sustained human capacity development in ICT; creation of a favourable and friendly investment and enterprise environment through transparency in tax systems, anti-trust laws, incentives and trade policies that would stimulate local and foreign investments in ICT, as well as development of infrastructure, particularly global connectivity as a prerequisite to leveraging the benefits of the global economy, improving domestic productivity and attracting foreign investments. Other strategies are: creation of an enabling environment through appropriate policies, legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks and enhancing Public -Private Partnership (PPP) in project funding, financing and management.
As for Niger Delta, the proposed investment in the region during the Plan period is N335.05 billion. The main policy thrust will be to entrench peace and stability to drive sustainable socio-economic development in the area with the aim of reducing the high incidence of poverty, high rate of unemployment and high level of insecurity.
Government expects total investment for the transport sector during the period 2011-2015 to be approximately N4, 465 billion. The investment would cover roads, railways, inland waterways, ports and airports development. The main policy thrust during the Plan period is to evolve a multimodal, integrated and sustainable transport system, with greater emphasis on rail and inland waterways transportation. An enabling environment for Public-Private Partnership (PPP) is being created by designing new policies, legislation and institutional framework that would support the envisaged transformation of the sector.
The transformation agenda ‘s key priority projects are derived from 20 Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) and sectors where a total of 1613 projects were identified, out of which 385 are new while 1361 are ongoing..