The office of the special assistant to the President on policy development and analysis, Mr Ibrahim Bapetel Hassan, at its 1st Online Monthly Roundtable, on Thursday, July 2, 2020, suggested local capacity building and utilisation as a strong tool to rejuvenating the Nigeria economy, while discussing on the topic: COVID-19: Which Way Forward Nigeria?
According to Hassan: “After a review of the recently submitted Economic Sustainability Plan by a committee chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, and the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, my office found out that there is a major gap in conception and implementation, which is the place of science and technology in national development.
“We also discovered that the Economic Sustainability Plan ignored the lessons of COVID-19, which clearly showed that local capacity development and utilisation are the surest way to national survival and well-being of the people.
“It is on the basis of the above that we are coming up with the following advisories as addendum to the recommendations of the Committee chaired by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, and we want Nigerians to air their views on them: commercialisation of all the products developed by the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology and other research institutions across the country; enhancement of the diagnostic capacity and case management of the Nigerian health sector; enhancement of the capacity of Nigeria’s research institutions especially in the area of science, technology, agriculture and health, to find solutions to national challenges, and promote local capacity utilisation; ensuring full compliance with Executive Order 5 in the implementation of the Economic Sustainability Plan, as well as the budget to conserve our resources and also generate growth; and promotion of the use of ICT and web based resources in order to maximise the digitisation of all socio-economic activities, including e- learning and tele-medicine.”
The submit saw participants from all walks of life coming up with suggestions such as the need for government to enhance the capacity of research institutes in Nigeria; urgent need to encourage indigenous discoveries and researches, and turn them into products; the need to enhance diagnostic capacity of COVID-19; the need for government to employ effective and efficient delivery of intervention plans, enhanced social welfare programmes; the need for functional and adequate surveillance system in our health care sector.
A discussant, Joko Okukpe, also called on government to connect with the reality of our environment, and put in place conscious effort to build a real time data, adding that planning and implementation of good policies will be frustrated without this.
Another suggestion is for the government to put up an implementation mechanism for the diversification of the Nation’s economy, saying that it will go a long way in cushioning the effect of COVD-19.
Dr Abu Hamisu, a discussant at the summit, noted that COVID-19 has impoverished many Nigerians because of the lockdown, and so government should be careful in terms of delivery of the sustainability plan interventions, ensuring that it will impact the lives of the people directly, so we don’t give room for unpleasant situation in the country; and to also ensure that local solutions developed by the people during the lockdwon are supported, and improved upon.
The technical adviser to the Office of the SSA, Mr Ahmad Sajoh, said the there is need to harvest the main potentials that COVID-19 has thrown on us a nation, and work out functional processes to improve on them.
The SSA assured participants that all suggestions made at the submit will be used to draw recommendations and advisory to Mr. President accordingly.
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