Vice President Yemi Osibanjo yesterday attributed the slow pace of development in the country to lack of good governance and weak institutional capacity.
Speaking at the Joint Planning Board/National Council on Development meeting in Abakaliki,
Osibanjo said the government’s objective of establishing the Council on Development Planning had remained a very important platform for setting the tone for national development.
He said the strategic objective of the National Development Plan includes establishing a strong foundation for a diversified economy, investing in infrastructure, improving government and stamping out insecurity. He stated that achieving the objective would contribute to national development aspirations.
The vice president added that the content of the plan was as important as the process for which it was developed, noting that extensive deliberations and contributions to the plan would fashion out a medium term blueprint .
He said the implementation of the plan had remained the “crux of the matter” which speaks of the relevance to the theme of the meeting; “Good Governance and Institutional Capacity: Pathways to Sustainable National Development.”
He noted that meeting would provide opportunity for federal and state governments to find ways of active collaboration for the wellbeing of the people.
“There is need for synergy among all tiers of government at this critical time, especially as we continue to face the challenges of the onslaught of COVID-19 pandemic, which is now compounded by the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.
“The challenge has already led to the price and supply shock, especially in the food section. We must brace ourselves to collectively respond to the inevitable economic challenge that will occur and some which are already occurring,” he said.
He congratulated the council, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, federal and state MDAs and all stakeholders and indeed the private sector for the sterling work that has been done in articulation a National Development Plan 2021-2025.
“The question I am sure some of us asked ourselves is, why a country with huge natural and human resources still develops slowly and has greater number of the poor than other less endowed societies or countries without resources at all like South Korea and Singapore.
“Why do they still perform better than the resourceful countries of the world? I think most of the surveys conducted show that there is lack of good governance and weak institutional capacity that largely account for the difference.
“How public institutions function is of course an approach determined by institutional capacity. But this is not merely having a merely educated and well-motivated workforce, but a system that can enforce transparency and accountability,” he said as he advocated for a system that can deliver on transparency and accountability.
“Even when a country has the whole of natural resources in every local government area and even a well educated workforce, the country can still fail and social services can still be poorly delivered, and extreme poverty can prevail”.
Earlier in his address, Governor David Umahi thanked the vice president for the visit, stating that his administration had prudently used the scarce resources that accrues to the state to develop it.
On the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) by local government areas and state governments across the country, Governor Umahi encouraged the legislative arm of government to look into the debate and ensure that VAT is included on the exclusive list.