National Development Plan: 1962-1968

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The first Nigerian National Development Plan was an ambitious economic plan that was launched in 1962 with a six year target that envisaged the spending of about $1,900,000,000 on development and productivity enhancing projects.

The plan was prepared by the minister of Economic Development in concert with United Nations and Ford Foundation experts including the late economist Wolfgang Stolper.

Economic outlook

The Nigerian political economic outlook right after independence was geared towards re-shaping the Nigerian economy then thought to have a colonial outlook and to limit the extent of imports with the use of established or burgeoning local factories in the pipeline such as those in the cement, asbestos, wrought iron, metal window and aluminum industrial sector to replace import commodities in those areas. (1)

In 1961, United States government pledged about $225 million towards the plan with enthusiastic from an American trade mission about the newly independent economy.

First national development plan

The plan was designed as a coordinated effort between the federal and regional governments with emphasis on technical education, agriculture and industry; it also allowed a mixed economic system. About 15% of GDP would be invested and a 4% GDP growth rate was envisioned, this number mildly differed with the 3.9% from 1952-1962.

The Kainji dam construction and the development of the lower Niger River was described as the cornerstone of the plan, other projects included the construction of a 125,000 ton iron and steel mill and a oil refinery. Construction of 2,000 miles of farm to market roads, extending the Northern Nigeria railways by about 293 miles. (2) The plan also made loans available to regional governments to pass on as credit to farmers or for agricultural related projects.

In the West, in terms of agricultural development, the Akintola led govenrment initiated a tree to crop system to spur cash crop productivity with the use of fertilizers. Both the East and Western governments later established farm settlements as part of the development project


The development plan was seen by some has lacking sufficient feasibility studies prior to implementation. Also the high dependence on foreign aid exposes the country to conditional assistance whereby the assisting countries may decide to tailor aid to specific areas. The formulation of the plan also involved foreigners, considering the country had just received independence, the move may have led to a mistrust of the plan's intended benefit, the country or developed nations.

In 1974, a World Bank report noted that close to 43% of the intended budget tailored towards agriculture remained unspent. (3)


  • (1)BUN ADESIOYE. "5-YEAR PLAN A KEY TO NIGERIA FUTURE; Development Program Aims at Shift in Economy Oil Increase Is Seen", New York Times, January 9, 1962
  • (2)'Nigeria Unveils Bold Six-Year Economic Plan', Chicago Daily Defender, Dec 26, 1962
  • (3)Kuotsai Tom Liou. Handbook of Economic Development. p 573