Review of National Development Plan of Nigeria for 2021 to 2025

Review of National Development Plan of Nigeria for 2021 to 2025

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The aim of this paper was to carry out a review the National Development plan of Nigeria (NDP) 2021-2025. This Plan was formulated against the backdrop of several subsisting development challenges in the country and the need to tackle them within the framework of medium– and long-term plans. These challenges include low and fragile economic growth, insecurity, weak institutions, insufficient public service delivery, notable infrastructure deficits, climate change and weak social indicators.

Hence, the Plan seeks to invest massively in infrastructure, ensure macroeconomic stability, enhance the investment environment, improve on social indicators and living conditions, and implement climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience strategies, amongst others. Specifically, the Plan aims to generate 21 million full-time jobs and lift 35 million people out of poverty by 2025; thus setting the stage for achieving the government’s commitment of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.

The country can achieve these targets through high quality economic growth and a more inclusive economy, leveraging its young workforce, and enhancing implementation capacity at national and subnational levels. With effective implementation, Nigeria will progress significantly on the path of unlocking its potentials in all sectors of the economy for a sustainable, holistic and inclusive national development. 


Development planning as a long-term programme designed to effect some permanent structural changes in the economy is connected with the involvement of government in the economy whereby it sets out objectives about the way it wants the economy to develop in the future and then intervenes to try to achieve those objectives. Development planning is necessary because since development is neither accidental nor does it take place naturally and quickly of its own accord, it is expedient to plan it deliberately.

More importantly it is worthwhile to note that although Nigeria has undertaken four national development plans in her post-independence history, namely: the First National Development Plan (1962-68); the Second National Development Plan (1970-74) the Third National Development Plan (1975-80) and the Fourth National Development Plan (1981-85) development planning in Nigeria started with the ten-year plan of development and welfare for Nigeria between 1946 and 1956 Howe it has been argued that these pre independence plans were no plans in the true sense of the word Besides it could be asserted and emphatically too, that many of the drawbacks of the colonial plans, for example, plan distribution and lack of mass participation, are still very glaring with us today, even after a post-independence planning experience that spanned over fifty years. Although several attempts were made, beginning from the close of 1984, to prepare a fifth National Development Plan (1986-90), but it was to no avail.

During the preparation for the production of what became the still-born fifth plan, the idea of a perspective 20-year plan was generated and accepted by the government. As a consequence, the Babangida administration abandoned the erstwhile system of fixed five- year development plans and adopted in its place, two types of national plans, namely: the perspective plan which covered three years at a time and subjected to review every year to evaluate our performance and ascertain whether the economy is on course.

Review of National Development Plan of Nigeria for 2021 to 2025

The economic crisis that faced the nation in the wake of the 1980’s had revealed that fixed five- year plans were not best suited to cope with attendant problems of economic management and adjustment under conditions characterized by numerous uncertainties as well as pressing issues that called for urgent solutions The introduction by the government of the 3-year rolling plan can therefore be said to have been necessitated by the need for an indicative rather than a comprehensive and rigidly direct plan By implication, there existed orderly rolling of one plan into another to be consummated at the end of the perspective plan (time) period Essentially, the 1992-94 rolling plan is the third in the series of the medium term plans that was put in place by the Nigerian government since the adoption of the rolling plan strategy in 1990.

The 1992-94 rolling plan could therefore be regarded as the 7th plan period, starting with the 1962-68 development plans. Apart from the five national development plans, another document that appears to be ambitious is the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (Soludo 2005).

According to Prince Clem Ikanade Agba, Minister of State for State Budget and National Planning, the National Development Plan (NDP) 2021–2025 will enhance and support MSMEs, which account for nearly 70% of all employment in the nation. The Minister made this statement as a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was recently signed in Abuja between the Ministry and the Forum of MSMEs. He stated, “Fast-tracking the growth of the MSMEs is one of the major objectives of the National Development Plan 2021-2025.”

He gave Nigerians the assurance that the government would strengthen its support for initiatives aimed at boosting the nation’s economic output of goods and services. Nigeria recently launched another short-term development plan christened the “National Development Plan 2021-2025. The short term plan was long overdue. Historically, development plans have been instrumental in the transformation of many economies across the world.

A case in point was the Marshal Plan that was implemented by the United States of America (USA) in Western and Eastern Europe in post-World War 2. During that period, 1948-1951, the United States injected over $13 billion into Europe. Then, attention was on Germany, Great Britain and France because of the belief that recovery in highly industrialised European countries was essential to the overall recovery of the entire European continent. The plan worked. Europe today accounts for a significant amount of the global trade, financial transactions, intellectual output and inventions.

According to Prince Agba, the economy was diversifying and it was crucial to pay close attention to the expansion of MSMEs since they were the driving force behind the nation’s economic growth and made up the majority of commercial activity in the world’s developing countries. The MOU’s signing, according to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Engr. Nebeolisa Anako, demonstrated regard and respect for the forum as well as the positive relationship between the MSMEs and the Ministry.

Just about the time that Nigeria launched its development plan, China, one of Nigeria’s largest trading partners and creditors, launched its 14thDevelopment Plan 2021 to 2025. China’s first Development Plan was launched in 1953 during the reign of Mao Zedong. Since then, the country has evolved and transformed from a command society to a modern economy where market forces play significant role, albeit with occasional government interventions.

Christened development plan of “Self-reliance and Technological Independence”, China aims to become the global centre for the new generation artificial intelligence, quantum information, integrated circuits(or Semiconductors), neuroscience and brain-inspired research, genetics and biotechnology, clinical medicine, as well as the deep sea, deep space, and polar exploration. Specific targets to be attained by 2025 include the attainment of an urbanisation rate of 65 percent, 12 high-value patents per 10,000 people, 95 percent basic pension insurance penetration rate, more than 650 million tons of grain production, and 87.5 percent of days should be with good air quality in cities. Going by what China has achieved economically, scientifically, technologically and militarily within a short time horizon, economic analysts believe China will surpass these targets.

The National President, Micro-Small and Medium Enterprises, Mr Garba Ibrahim, said that “the forum was officially launched on the 6th of January 2022, and the potential of the project motivated the Forum to work tirelessly to restructure the service sector.” He further stated that to actualize the goals and objectives of the MoU and have a strategic plan, MSMEs must have access to capacity building, finance, and raw materials in order to standardize their products.


A national development plan is a document that outlines the government’s vision for the economic, social, and environmental development of a country over a period of time, typically 5-10 years. It identifies the country’s priorities, sets goals, and outlines strategies for achieving those goals. National development plans are typically developed by a team of experts from the government, private sector, and civil society. They are based on a thorough analysis of the country’s current situation, as well as its future potential.

National development plans are important because they provide a roadmap for the government’s development efforts. They help to ensure that resources are allocated efficiently and effectively, and that the country’s development is sustainable. However, national development plans are not without their challenges. They can be complex and difficult to implement, and they can be subject to political changes. Despite the challenges, national development plans are an essential tool for promoting economic growth and development. They provide a roadmap for the government’s efforts to improve the lives of its citizens. Here are some examples of national development plans:

  • Nigeria’s National Development Plan 2021-2025
  • India’s National Development Plan 2022-2027
  • China’s 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025)
  • South Africa’s National Development Plan 2030
  • Brazil’s Growth Acceleration Plan (PAC)
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Vision 20:2020, introduced in 2009, was Nigeria’s long-term economic transformation blueprint aimed at improving the welfare and living standards of the population and to place the country among the top 20 economies in the world. The vision had as its targets a minimum GDP of $900 billion and a per capita income of not less than $4000 per annum.1 Other objectives were to achieve fiscal prudence, low inflation and increased availability of infrastructural facilities to propel the economy.

The implementation period was 2009 – 2020 with a series of Medium-term Plans, beginning with the First Implementation Plan, 2010 – 2013. To realize the objectives of the Plan, substantial public and private sector investments were required. The three tiers of government and the private sector were to make investments in the various sectors totalling N31.95 trillion. The total public sector investment requirement for the four-year period was N19 trillion of which N10 trillion was Federal Government investment and the states and local governments were expected to invest the balance of N9 trillion.

The private sector investment was projected at N12.95 trillion for an annual average of N3.24 trillion. Some progress was made in achieving the Vision 2020 goals. Although Nigeria is not among the world’s top 20 economies with respect to GDP size in 2020, it improved marginally from 30th position to 27th position during the period. The Nigerian economy grew by 7.8% in 2010 but slowed from 2015 because of the negative impact of exogenous shocks especially from lower and volatile oil prices.

Indeed, in the last five years of the Plan period, the economy experienced two recessions in 2016 and 2020 because of the remarkable decline in oil prices with the covid-19 pandemic being the key trigger in the latter year. In addition, the country has only been able to make some modest gains in social development. The human development index (HDI) increased from 0.47 score in 2005 to 0.54 score in 2019. In 2020, while the HDI remained at 0.54, Nigeria’s ranking decreased to 161.

In the sphere of governance, Nigeria’s corruption rating improved slightly. For example, the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) of the country decreased to 25 Points in 2020 from 26 Points in 2019. Despite the fact that the vision did well by identifying some fundamental constraints, among which are weak institutions and epileptic power supply, significant progress has not been recorded in tackling these items.

Overall, the NV20:2020 Economic Transformation Blueprint and its implementation Plan were well designed with clear goals, objectives, strategies and policy measures. In line with the strategy to develop infrastructure, the government increased its allocation for capital expenditure from 23% of the total budget in 2010 to 32% in 2020. However, the investment requirements to actualize the growth targets were rather enormous in the context of developments in the global oil market and extant challenges in enhancing domestic resource mobilisation.

The key factors that tended to hinder effective Plan implementation included exogenous negative shocks arising from the global oil market; inadequate/volatile financial resources; low absorptive capacity, especially for capital expenditure; low efficiency and effectiveness of public spending; binding infrastructure constraints, in particular, electricity; ineffective monitoring of plan implementation.


The Objectives of National Development plan of Nigeria (NDP) 2021-2025

  1. Establish a strong foundation for a concentric diversified economy, with robust MSME growth, and a more-resilient business environment
  2. Invest in critical  physical,  financial,  digital, and innovation infrastructure
  3. Build a solid framework and enhance capacities to strengthen security and ensure good governance
  4. Enable a vibrant, educated, and healthy population.
  5. Invest in the social infrastructure and services required to alleviate poverty
  6. Promote development opportunities across States to minimize regional economic and social disparities.



Nigeria’s National Development Plan (NDP), 2021 – 2015 is a medium-term blueprint designed to unlock the country’s potentials in all sectors of the economy for a sustainable, holistic and inclusive national development, developed by the different facet of the Private Sector, Sub-national Government, Civil Society Organization (CSO) and facilitated by the Federal Government of Nigeria. This was deliberately done for inclusiveness, participation and citizen engagement to ensure no one is left behind.

The Plan is a successor to the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), 2017-2020, which elapsed in December 2020. The vision of the NDP, 2021-2025 is consistent with the pursuit of socio-economic transformation of our country as envisioned in the long-term aspiration of Nigeria, encapsulated in the Nigeria Agenda 2050. The Plan also builds on the achievements and lessons learned during the implementation of the ERGP.

The NDP 2021-2025, adopted an integrated and multi-sectoral development approach. The approach recognises the multi-faceted and interlinked nature of sustainable development, which calls for interventions to be tackled simultaneously through a coordinated approach to implementing development programmes.

To achieve this, the Plan is guided by four strategic objectives, namely; establishing a strong foundation for a concentric diversified economy; investment in critical physical, financial, science and innovation infrastructure; building a solid framework and enhance capacities to strengthen security and ensure good governance; and enabling a vibrant, educated and healthy populace.

During the Plan period, government will focus on sectors with great potentials to generate jobs for our people and with multiplier effects on other sectors. We will continue to invest in critical infrastructure such as Power and alternative energy, Rail, Roads, and Housing and ensure macroeconomic stability, enhance business and investment environment, and improve the living conditions of Nigerians.

By 2025, the effective implementation of the Plan is expected to achieve average economic growth of 4.6 percent.  Cumulatively it would have lifted 35 million people out of poverty and created 21 million full-time jobs. It would have also raised revenue to GDP ratio to 15 percent as well as improve health and education of the population. To attain the objectives of the Plan, a total of N348.1 trillion investment commitment is required.  The Government (Federal, States and LGAs) investment is expected to be N49.7 trillion, while the balance of N298.3 trillion will be funded by the private sector.

A strong partnership between the public and private sectors is, therefore, imperative for successful delivery of the Plan outcomes.  Government will also put in place a robust implementation framework that promotes performance and accountability. In this regard, the development Plan Implementation Unit and the National Monitoring and Evaluation system will be strengthened for assessment and tracking of government policies and programmes.

To deliver on the laudable initiatives contained in the Plan, concerted efforts and commitment of all stakeholders are required.  I, therefore, enjoin all Nigerians to fully take ownership of this Plan and participate actively in its implementation to enable us realize Nigeria of our dream.


  • 35 million Persons out of Poverty, 21 Million New Full-Time Jobs by 2025

The plan aims to ensure that by 2025, 35 million people will be lifted out of poverty. According to the plan, the government aims to achieve this goal through accelerated, sustained, and inclusive economic growth, inclusive of social-protection initiatives. 21 million full-time jobs are also expected to be created. According to the plan, key sectors such as Agriculture, Manufacturing, Trade, Oil, and Gas that ‘account’ for 60% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product will be revitalized for achieving stronger economic growth, The government also promised to invest in key infrastructures such as  physical, financial, digital, science, technology, and innovation.

  • Reduced Cost of Production for Oil Sector, Value Addition for Mineral Sector, Tourism

Inclusive in this plan is reduction of the cost of production for the Oil sector. This development is important given the high costs recorded for the production of crude oil and how it affects revenues due to the government. The plan also aims to ensure value for the Mineral sector of the country through the creation of linkages. The share of the Mineral sector to the country’s GDP is expected to grow to 3%. The total solid Minerals revenue is expected to grow to N20 billion while numbers of mining enterprises will grow to 8,100.

The Tourism sector is also expected to be of priority in the five-year plan. To achieve this, the government promised to ensure infrastructural development that will aid the Tourism sector while also ensuring local asset maintenance and global marketing campaigns for the sector. It was also noted that Tourism offices will be opened in states to identify Tourism opportunities and ensure that heritage sites are properly renovated and maintained. The Tourism sector will benefit from N114.24 billion fund meant for the Creative sector and Tourism sector within the five years.

  • Integrating Informal Sector, Widening Tax Base

The government also prominently listed the informal sector as part of its plans. The plan stated that as part of measures to ensure diversifying the economy and improving revenue, the informal sector is key. The plan includes widening its tax net and improving the Tax to GDP ratio. The intention of the government may have already been kick started with the recent finance bill that widens the tax scope of the country. Challenges such as lack of access to finance, high interest rates will be dealt with, and incentives to support business growth and expansion, expansion of existing business clusters in the country will be implemented.

  • Strengthening Security and Ensuring Good Governance

As part of its plan, the government has noted that it would address bottlenecks in delivering good governance through strict accountability as well as human and technological development. The government also promised to prioritize Education and Health Sectors. The government also promised to ensure Teachers’ training while strengthening Nigeria’s health sector service delivery capacity. The government noted that providing key infrastructures and improving access to social services will help better the state of security in the country.

The country will also invest in Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Drone Technology and Military science research to boost and enhance capacity. Strengthening partnership between security operatives is also part of the strategy to improve the security situation. The plan also aims to implement the Nigerian National Defence Policy and National Security Strategy. The estimated public investment in National Security is expected to be N2.86 Trillion between 2021 to 2025.

  • Growing Real GDP, Increasing Private Investment and Public Investment Growth 

According to the plan, Real GDP is expected to grow by 4.7%. The document noted that this will be a boost from a contraction of 1.92% which occurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic and decline in Oil prices. The Real-GDP is defined as the inflation-adjusted price of goods and services produced in an economy within a given- year. There is also an anticipated growth in private investment put at 5.1%.

The government promised to ensure that critical infrastructure needed by the private sector to thrive will be provided. Private investments are companies that are not publicly traded. Public investments are critical infrastructures that are deemed important to national interests. They may be public assets or corporations/ publicly owned companies.

  • Increasing Capital Expenditures to 30%

The plan also revealed that the government will spend at least 30% of its expenditures on capital projects between 2021 and 2025. To this end, recurrent expenditure of the government will be sustained at optimal level while there would be efforts toward domestic resource mobilisation. This will include ensuring better non-oil revenues to help the country survive volatile oil prices.

  • Dropping Unemployment Rate to an Average 22.78%

According to the plan, unemployment is expected to average 22.78% in the five-year period. The figures to watch out for are; 27.19% in 2021, 24.32% in 2022, 22.21% in 2023, 20.63% in 2024 and 19.56% in 2025. According to the plan, the government will dedicate a minimum of 1% GDP to reversing the current unemployment trend of the country. Social protection for young, old and vulnerable is at the centre of the strategy. Again, the country is banking on Cash transfers, incentives for business growth, and expansion of existing industry clusters to achieve its aim.

  • Growing Federal Government Revenue to N25 Trillion by 2025

According to the National Development Plan, the country’s revenue is expected to hit 25 Trillion by 2025. According to the plan, the expected revenue breakdown over the 5-year period is as follows; N6.6 Trillion in 2021, N9.0 Trillion in 2022, N13.7 Trillion in 2023, N18.8 Trillion in 2024 and N25.4 Trillion in 2025. Breaking down the figure further, in 2021 Oil sector will contribute N2.0 Trillion, Non-Oil including VAT pool will contribute N1.4 Trillion, independent and other revenue will contribute N3.1 Trillion.

In 2022, the breakdown is expected to be N2.4 Trillion for Oil sector, N2.0 Trillion for Non-Oil sector and N4.4 Trillion for independent and other revenue. The break-down for the 2023 figure is put at N2.6 Trillion for the Oil sector, N3.7 Trillion for the non-Oil sector and N7.3 Trillion for independent and other revenue. In 2024 the breakdown is put at N2.6 Trillion for Oil sector, N5.6 Trillion for non-Oil sector and N10.5 Trillion for Independent and other revenue. At the end of the plan, Oil sector will contribute N2.6 Trillion for the Oil sector, N8.1 for the Non-Oil sector, N14.6 Trillion for independent and other revenues.

  • Prioritising Rural Areas, Expanding Public Investment in Agricultural Sector to N1.46 Trillion

According to the government, there will be more commitment towards the Agricultural sector. It promises to commit N1.46 Trillion into the sector. To achieve this, the government promises to develop rural areas by enhancing economic development and enhancing key infrastructures in the areas. The plan also stated that the government will minimise disparity in development between rural and urban areas nationwide.

These are some key numbers to know. By 2025, there will be an increase by 20% on rural areas road networks. 75% of rural areas will have access to electricity. Unemployment in rural areas will drop to 20.2% while under-employment will drop to 23.3%.

  • Generation 10,000 Megawatts of Power by 2025

Nigeria’s power generation is expected to grow up to 10,000 Megawatts. By 2025, Nigeria aims to achieve 15% reduction in population without access to electricity. The figure of those without access is put at 81 million persons. By 2025, it is estimated that over 75%  of rural and remote locations will be provided with power via renewable energy sources including Solar, Wind, Small hydro-power and Biomass.

The generation capacity of the 23 Thermal operating plants in the country is expected to produce 25,000 Megawatts of electricity by 2025. Renewable energy will take up to 23% of total electricity share up from 13%. By 2025, meter penetration in Nigeria is expected to be 100%.

  • Building Up Nigeria’s Export of Goods and Services to N44 Trillion by 2025

The plan also targets Nigeria’s export trade, projecting an increase in goods and services up to N44 Trillion by 2025. In 2021, export is targeted for N24.4 Trillion, 2022 is targeted for N29.7 Trillion, 2023 N34.5 Trillion, 2024 N39.1 Trillion and 2025 N44.3 Trillion. The import for goods and services projection is put at N29.5 Trillion in 2021, N33.4 Trillion in 2022, N37.2 Trillion in 2023, N41.6 Trillion in 2024 and 46.1 Trillion in 2025. At the end of the five year period, although Nigeria will still not have achieved a positive Balance of Trade, if the plan works, the trade deficit will be around N1.8 Trillion. The five year average for export is put at N34.4 Trillion while that of import is N37.5 Trillion.

  • Growing Nigeria’s Labour Force to 74 Million Persons,  Per Capita GDP to $3,700

The National Development Plan targets an increase in the Labour Force of the country to 74 million by 2025. According to the plan, the projection for 2021 is 67.05 million, 2022 is 68.75 million, 2023 70.44 million persons, 2024 72.20 million persons and 2025 74.01 persons. In the same vein, the Per Capita Gross Domestic Product is targeted to grow up to $3,700 dollars by 2025. These are the year by year details; 2021 $2,200, 2022 $2,500, 2023 $2800, 2024 $3,200 and 2025 $3,700. The increase between 2021 and 2023 are pegged at $300 each while the figure increased to $400 in 2024 and $500 in 2025.

  • Increasing Nigeria’s Foreign Direct Investment to $5 Billion by 2025

According to details on the Nigerian Development plan, the foreign direct investment into the  country is targeted to grow to $5 billion by 2025. This is even as the country targets to increase the share of its exports to Africa up to 35% from a base figure of 20.43%. The country also targets a World Economic Forum global competitiveness ranking of 100 and Ease of Doing business ranking of 100.

  • ICT Contributing 12.54% to Nigeria’s GDP by 2025

The National Development Plan has noted that the Information and Communication Technology Sector will contribute 12.54% to the GDP of the country by 2025. The country’s broadband penetration will also  be increased to 60% according to the plan. Between 2021 and 2025 500,000 youths are to be enrolled into advanced Digital skills Acquisition programs annually.

  • Reducing Nigeria’s Military Spending as a Percentage of GDP to 0.2% 

According to details in the National Development Plan, by 2025, the country’s military spending as a percentage of the country’s GDP will drop to 0.2% from a current baseline of 0.15%. Also Nigeria plans to be ranked 1st in Africa in Spy Agencies. As part of its plans, by 2025 the country targets a ranking of 100 on the Global Peace Index, 100 on the Fragile State Index at the global level.

  • Reducing the Number of Out of School Children to 5 million by 2025

According to details in the National Development Plan, Nigeria Out of School children will drop to 5 million by 2025. This is from the current 10.5 million children it is pegged at. The plan includes that 10 Nigerian higher institutions will be among the top 1000 universities in the world away from the current four tertiary Institutions. The literacy rate is also expected to increase to 80% by 2025.

  • Increasing Nigeria’s Universal Health Coverage to 25% by 2025
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According to the National Development Plan, by 2025, Nigeria’s Universal Health Coverage will grow to 25% from the current 5%. Life expectancy will also grow to 56 years. The number of institutions offering health services through public private partnership are also expected to grow to 10% of 40,000 health institutions from the current 1% of 23,640 health institutions.

  • Food Security Index Growing to 60.1 by 2025

The country has revealed plans to improve its food security. According to the document, the Food Security index will increase by 20 points going from its current 40 points to 60 points by 2025. Severe food insecurity is also expected to reduce from 19.6% to 10% by 2025. People who suffer malnutrition are projected to drop to 5% from the current 7% figure. The number of children suffering from stunting are also targeted to reduce from 36.8% to 20% Under 5 mortality rate is also targeted to be reduced by 25%

  • 90% of Nigerians to have Access to Safe Drinking Water by 2025

The Nigerian government says by 2025 90% Nigerians will have access to safe drinking water. Currently, 68% of Nigerians have access to water supply services, but that number is expected to increase to 90% by 2025. Access to basic sanitation services will also increase from 39% to 80%. The document states that open defecation will reduce from the current 23.5% to 10%.

  • Improving Gender Parity 

The government in its plan has projected that by 2025, the gender parity point of the country will improve from 128 to 100. Gender based violence cases will also drop from 17.4% to 10%. These are just a few important headlines contained in the government’s plans and as 2021 ends in just a few days, all eyes will be watching to see whether the National Development Plan will translate into tangible national growth and development.


Despite the series of development plans and visions introduced by successive Nigerian governments since independence, the country has failed to produce much needed sustainable development. Development plans in Nigeria have failed to achieve their desired objectives due to many challenges that bedeviled the plans. These challenges are:

  1. Corruption: Corruption in Nigerian political system has hampered development plans and programmes. Corruption has been a pervasive social phenomenon. The disheartening thing about the whole scenario is that the purported development plans are to a large extent corruption avenues to some greedy Nigeria leaders. Illicit misappropriation of privileges and opportunities in public and private sectors for personal aggrandizement particularly those in positions of authority are sine-qua-non to Nigeria (Ologbenla, 2007). The involvement of our political leaders in massive corruption both in military and civilian governments has been a stumbling block to national development plans. Onah (2006) observes that all development visions and programmes fail in Nigeria because of poor handling by corrupt and poor/hungry politicians and bureaucrats.
  2. Lack of Plan Discipline: The failure of Nigerian political leaders and bureaucrats to abide by the plan objectives has frustrated development plans in Nigeria. Many previous plans in Nigeria were distorted during the implementation stages which eventually killed the overall objectives of the plans. Indiscipline in the process implementation of development plans has resulted in many abandoned projects in all parts of the country. Many projects like Ajaokuta Steal Complex which could have fasten Nigeria’s industrialization are not yet completed after two decades of their projected completion dates.
  3. Lack of Commitment: Development plans are often prepared without consulting the people, hence public apathy towards its implementation (Obi, 2006). Since the plan is meant for the people, but they are not even aware of its existence or objectives, they do not feel duty bound to contribute to its success (Obi, 2006). This has made many development plans fail in Nigeria. It was an attempt to address this problem that made the defunt Vision 2010 Committee to embark on series of publicity programmes, like seminars, conferences and public enlightenment campaigns (Obi, 2006).
  4. Absence of Relevant Data: Development planning depends basically on availability of data. This is due to inadequacies of Federal Office of Statistics, the unwillingness of Nigerians to reveal information and outright manipulation of data for pecuniary or other gains. A striking example of the problem in Nigeria is that until today, nobody is sure about the exact population of Nigeria. A country that does not know its population would definitely not be in position to determine the other vital statistics necessary for planning life, birth rate, death rate, number of those of school age and demographic changes in the population which are essential for planning. (Ejumudo, 2013). The absence of reliable background data has made the use of social indicators difficult and inadequate for plan preparation, implementation and monitoring of national development (Ejumudo, 2013).
  5. Over Ambitious Development Plans: National Development Plans are over ambitious trying to achieve many objectives at the same time without considering the conflicting and competing priorities. Again, they are often grandiose in design but vague on specific policies needed to achieve stated objectives (Onah, 2010). In most cases, policy objectives are contradictory
  6. Lack of Continuity of Government Programmes: Lack of continuity of government programmes has retarded development plans in Nigeria. Most of the development programmes are usually abandoned once the government that introduced them are out of power. Government officials did not feel committed to the national plans of their predecessors and subsequently sought to change by introducing major projects not incorporated in the original plan or introducing new ones (Oladapo, 2004). This is the reason for uncompleted projects in different parts of the country today. The situation is worsened because of political instability to which the country has been subjected since independence. Arguably, the frequent and unpredictable changes in the government especially during the military regimes, created room for uncertainty and for the retardation of development process articulated in various plans.
  7. Public Service Inefficiency: Public service is an institution that is responsible to execute development plans. It is worrisome that Nigerian public service is beset with many problems which militate against its efforts in the implementation of development plans. Some of these problems are: corruption, inadequate working materials, poor communication system, red-tapism and political instability. It is imperative to address these problems to enhance the capacity of Nigerian public service to serve as appropriate instrument for implementing development plans in Nigeria
  8. Public and Private Sector Partnership: There is poor collaboration between the public and private sectors in development planning process in Nigeria. In fact, development planning has largely followed bureaucratic process with little private sector participation so much so that such efforts can be appropriately described as lacking in synergy (Ejumudo, 2013).


We have examined the 2021 to 2025 development plans embarked by successive Nigerian governments since independence and identified the problems that militate against these plans as instrument of sustainable growth and development. The failure of National Development Plans in Nigeria is manifested in the crisis that besets Nigerian economy. All economic and social indicators have shown that our economy is in doldrums.

Acute unemployment, widespread poverty, illiteracy, decayed social and physical infrastructure, technological backwardness, urban congestion, excessive debt burden, poor growth of agricultural production and high incidence of diseases are common features of Nigerian economy. Therefore, it is imperative to address all the problems that bedevil Nigerian Development Plans to enable it serve as appropriate instrument of national transformation. The political leaders and top bureaucrats should be disciplined to ensure that the objectives of national plans are realized.

The developments plans will be worthless if the political executives and senior administrators are not committed to implement it sincerely. Many development plans in Nigeria have suffered in this respect. The objectives of National Development Plans can be achieved if the government, the private sector, civil society organizations, multi-national corporations, work as a team to ensure its success. The implementation of the suggested measures would enhance the efficacy of our development plans and ensure that they are viable instruments of sustainable development in Nigeria. 


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