In Sir Abubakar’s Government
In the new Cabinet Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, the Prime Minister, gave Shehu Shagari his first Ministry, the Ministry of Economic Development. The Ministry’s Economic Planning Unit had only nine Nigerian economists, who had little experience in this field, supported by three expatriates. The Ministry was also overshadowed by the powerful Federal Ministry of Finance, and to some degree by the Central Bank; and even by the Economic Adviser to the Prime Minister, then a distinguished Indian economist, Dr Narayan Prasad. There was, however, no shortage of work for the new Minister. He was responsible for co-ordinating central planning and external economic relations; and he dealt with the then significant matter of external “aid” to Nigeria. Before independence, early in 1960, Shehu Shagari, Minister of Economic Development, was a member of Nigeria’s delegation to the Tangiers conference of the UN Economic Commission for Africa.