Minister of National Planning Commission (NPC), Dr. Shamsuddeen Usman, while giving insight into the growth rate in the Nigerian economy from 2009 fiscal year, disclosed that the target by Nigeria to be among the top 20 developed economies in the world by 2020 may not be realised following the poor state of the power sector and other environmental factors hindering rapid economic transformation.
Dr. Usman said: “When government started the documentation of Vision 20:2020 in 2009 economic year, to be among the top 20 economies in the world, where were we in 2009? We were number 44. By the end of 2011, we were number 36, this is progress.
“We have made tremendous progress. I don’t want any of you to meet me in 2020 and say you were the one who told us that we are going to be among the top 20 economies.
“What I am saying is that, even if we are not among the top 20 by that time, we were number 44 in 2009. If by 2020 we are number 25, I will be a very proud man. The reason is because we are consciously moving and doing all the necessary things to move up there.
“The document is not saying we must be there. What it is saying is that, if we get there, then these are the actions we need to take as a country. We must do this and that in governance, in human development and infrastructure. That is what the document is saying and we are actually taking those steps. And if we are, what progress are we making?
The Minister also stated that, “during the military, planning was relegated. So, for more than 30 years, we neglected the power sector, which is very vital to economic development.
“However, the Federal Government is putting measures in place to transform the power sector, just the way the telecom sector has been transformed. Nigeria had signed several bilateral agreements with other countries, but, unfortunately, Nigerians are not getting the full benefits of signing all these agreements at the moment.”