The Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning has commenced the 20th edition of the Joint Planning Board (JPB)/National Council on Development (NCDP) meetings in Maiduguri, Borno State.

The meeting, with the theme: “Managing the Nigerian Economy for Sustainable Development in a Challenging Environment”, is to come up with a workable means of improving the Nigerian economy to overcome the challenges posed by Covid-19 and chart a realistic pathway to addressing the festering insecurity that was affecting sustainable economic growth and development countrywide.

Welcoming delegates to the three-day meeting, scheduled to run from 3rd to 5th of August, 2021, the permanent secretary, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Olusola Olayinka Idowu, commended the Borno State Government for the giant strides recorded, particularly in the area of infrastructure development and agriculture despite security challenges faced by the State.

Addressing the Council via zoom, the permanent secretary urged all representatives of States in attendance to encourage their respective governors to engage in commercial agricultural value-chain to reduce unemployment particularly in the rural and under-served areas of the nation.

She stated that over 2.3 trillion Naira was released by the Federal Government under the Economic Sustainability Plan, ESP, to grow and diversify the Nigerian Economy with specific focus on agriculture and industry across the States of Federation.

Idowu stressed that the choice of Borno State and the theme for the year’s event was apt considering the State’s potential to easily build its economic base in spite of the rising level of insecurity.

She implored state governments to continue to collaborate with the federal government towards effective implementation of all the resolutions/decisions of the Joint Planning Board/National Council on Development Planning (JPB/NCDP) to fast-track Nigeria’s development objectives with particular emphasis on food security.

The permanent secretary also appreciated the efforts of the states’ commissioners and permanent secretaries of budget and economic planning and other stakeholders, for being true partners in the development of the country.

In his keynote address, the Secretary to the Borno State Government, Alhaji Usman Jidda Shuwa, stated that the challenges faced by the nation were daunting but not insurmountable.

Declaring the Technical session open, Alhaji Shuwa said: “What is required is our collective resolve, relentless determination and total commitment to the course we have set for ourselves.”

He added: “It has become a matter of strategic imperative for States and Local Governments across the country to vigorously and independently pursue the idea of diversification of their economy and also involve an effective and result-oriented tax regime in order to ensure less dependence on statutory allocations from the Federation Account, among others.”

These measures, according to him, would enable them articulate a suitable and sustainable trajectory of development, based on their individual economic characteristics and social peculiarities.

The first technical session for Day One, featured panelists who discussed topics like: “Tackling Humanitarian Challenges,” with interactive panel discussions by State officials on “Humanitarian Crisis, Causes, Effects and Solutions”; “Managing Insecurity in Nigeria” with discussions on: “Security Challenges in Nigeria, Implications for Sustainable Economic Growth and Development.’

The Special Adviser on Security to Governor of Borno State, Brig-General Ishaq Abdullahi, who was the lead speaker, X-rayed the different perspectives and proposed options for sustainable growth and development in the face of insecurities.

The second technical session focused on “Insecurity in Nigeria: Causes, Consequences and Solutions”, with Major General Babagana Monguno (retd), National Security Adviser (NSA), as the lead paper presenter. Moreso, the Director, Macro-Economic Analysis, Budget and National Planning, Mr. David Adeosun, anchored a panel discussion and presented a paper on: Managing Humanitarian Issues through the MTNDP 2021-2025 and Nigeria Agenda 2050′ while focusing on how the plans would address Humanitarian issues.

(Report by Imaobong Udoh Information Department,  MBNP. August 3, 2021)