The National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (NEEDS) is derived from the urgent requirement for value orientation, the objective of which is to sound the message clearly, that it is not business as usual. Therefore, the bedrock of NEEDS is its vision of a Nigeria with a new set of values and principles, which will facilitate the achievements of national goals of wealth creation, employment generation and poverty reduction
Since the achievement of these national goals depends on a sound macroeconomic framework, NEEDS has fashioned a reform agenda with emphasis on strengthening the macroeconomic environment, and strengthening the growth agents within the system.
The specific reform programmes in NEEDS include Government and institutional reforms which entail:
Public sector reforms
Privatization and liberalization
Transparency and anticorruption, as well as
Service delivery by government agencies
NEEDS also specifies private sector reforms which will address issues such as security and rule of law; infrastructure; finance; sectoral strategies; privatization and liberalization; and trade and regional integration.
It also entails a Human Development Agenda or Social Charter, which will focus on health, education, integrated rural development, housing development, employment and youth development, safety nets, as well as geopolitical balance.
Finally, NEEDS specifies its financial and plan implementation strategies. Of course, whatever funds are spent on this programme would be money well spent. Though, NEEDS is a medium-term economic reform programme, its formulation has been made consistent with both short-term realities and long-term imperatives, that derive from the country's long-term goals of poverty reduction, wealth creation, employment generation and value reorientation.
NEEDS is becoming a platform for both the Federal and State governments to cooperate more closely. The Federal Government under NEEDS, and the state government under the State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (SEEDS), will coordinate a planning framework, with agreed common priorities in agriculture, public finance and public sector reforms, with emphasis on the social sector.
Objectives of NEEDS
NEEDS is therefore fashioning for Nigeria, a common ground for all economic agents to interplay, in a healthy and sustainable manner. The objectives are mainly threefold:
The immediate goals of NEEDS is to redefine the role of government in the economy, by deemphasizing the participation of government in the running of business. This is in line with the global view that government has no business running business.
As a corollary to the above, it is the responsibility of government to create an enabling or conducive environment for the private sector to thrive, through legislation, tax regimes and other incentives. There is synergy as well as coherence between Federal and State reforms, for the first time, in a very long time. This has ensured purposefulness, focus and objectivity. The trend today is a far cry from past experience, by these two levels of government, which had sometimes worked at cross-purposes.
The commitment of Mr. President to undertake fundamental reforms, and see them through, has left nobody in doubt. The reforms are based on selected programmes. The question of biting more than can be chewed, with all the attendant problems, ISP therefore, avoided. The phased programme of the reforms ensures that the shock to the system is not massive at any given point.
The primary objective of the Obasanjo Administration's reform agenda is to reinvigorate the economy, and return it to the path of sustainable growth, development and poverty reduction. The various reforms focus on people, with emphasis on job creation, and employment generation for our youths, through provision of the enabling environment for the private sector to generate jobs.
In pursuing these reforms, the Administration consulted widely with the National Assembly, political parties, traditional rulers, religious leaders, Labour, Civil Society, the military, the Police, the academia, States, Local Governments and other stakeholders. The inputs and feedback received from these quarters have been valuable in strengthening and enriching the reforms. Related links