Rethinking ‘NEEDS’ and ‘MDGs’ as Panacea for the SDGs: Issues and Options
After years of economic stagnation and numerous challenges of development, couple with the struggle to meet up the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Obasanjo administration embarked on a reform program during his second term in office, the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS). The program focused on improving the macroeconomic environment, pursuing structural reforms, strengthening public expenditure management and implementing institutional and governance reforms. This paper revisits the philosophy of the NEEDS in relation to MDGs in terms of the major policy measures that had been implemented to serve as lessons for the attainments of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Although the country had some success stories under NEEDS and MDGs, challenges exist particularly in translating the benefits of the NEEDS into welfare improvements for the citizenry; improving the domestic business environment and extending reform policies to the grassroots. Consequently, the paper argued that reforms by subsequent governments would achieve better results with greater inclusiveness or credible grassroots ownership. Hence, the journey to better reforms towards the attainments of the SDGs should focus on peace building, promotion of accountability at all levels and credible measurements of objectives of reforms/SDGs. Keywords: Empowerment, NEEDS, MDGs, SDGs, Reforms.