On Monday, President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday ordered the National Planning Commission to go back to the drawing board and produce the framework for the 2016 national budget that will reduce recurrent expenditure and prioritise developmental projects.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed this in a statement made available to journalists yesterday.
Shehu said the President gave the order after receiving a briefing from the Executive Secretary of the commission, Dr. Bassey Akpanyung, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said the President told Akpanyung and the directors of the NPC that capital projects must now be given priority because Nigeria cannot achieve real development without adequate investment in capital and infrastructural projects.
“In carrying out its role in surveillance of the economy, review and appraisal of policies, the commission should devise a plan for a realignment of the budget so that capital projects can be really prioritised,” the President directed.
The executive secretary of the NPC had informed the President that Nigeria’s planning system was beset by many challenges.
These challenges, he said, included the non-alignment of national plans with the annual budget and inadequate capacity in the departments of planning, research and statistics in the various government ministries.
He later told State House correspondents that he used the opportunity of the meeting with the President to inform him that the commission had on the ground a perspective plan, the national Vision 20:20
He said the commission was in the process of developing a medium term plan.
“Of course, we sought the President’s support for the articulation and finalisation of that document because his pronouncement on it will assist us in rapidly doing so.
“Planning, like I said, will make it effective from 2016 to 2019.
“So, we should be working very seriously to pick out the elements that will form the document.
“The core areas: security, the areas of diversification, the area of restabilising the polity, the micro economic situations that are going to be addressed.
“Of course, we can’t forget the issues of unemployment and agric in the real sectors. These are the areas that will drive and ensure that the employment situation is improved upon and that will reduce the poverty level,” he added.