FG set to commence focused labs to boost economic growth


Following the Federal Executive Council’s approval, the Ministry of Budget and National Planning is set to organize focused labs. These labs consist simply in the bringing together of relevant stakeholders in the public and private sectors into weeks of intensive working sessions to brainstorm on practical steps to overcoming any identified challenges in the implementation of the country’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

The labs will serve as an effective tool for ensuring robust engagement between the public and private sectors to resolve challenges within a specified sector.

It is a fall-out of the Federal Government Cabinet Retreat on ERGP Implementation held in Abuja on the 10th of August this year with the theme “Getting Implementation Right”.

A major outcome of the retreat was the need for Nigeria to conduct focused labs, drawing from the Malaysian model, which will drive quick delivery of the major outcomes of the ERGP. The initial labs will be in agriculture and transportation, in power and gas, and in manufacturing and processing. Thereafter, similar labs will be conducted in other areas, such as entertainment and tourism, health and education amongst others.

The planned labs will be directed by relevant Ministers and senior government officials, with the participation of captains of industry and potential investors, both Nigerian, as well as major international companies. Young and aspiring entrepreneurs will also be invited to participate. Already the Federal Government has set up an ERGP implementation team located in the Ministry of Budget and National Planning who will be coordinating the labs. These staff will be supported by some consultants from Malaysia who will facilitate the first three pilot labs after which their services will no longer be required.

The labs, which will run for about three months in three separate phases (pre-laboratory, laboratory and post laboratory), will involve about 100 persons each drawn from both the public and private sectors. The aim is to get private sector involvement in achieving the objectives of the plan, by mobilising private sector financing and resources.

The key objectives of the labs are to:
• Identify all relevant key stakeholders from the public and private sectors that are crucial in the delivery and implementation of the various initiatives of the ERGP so as to create ownership;
• Review and re-evaluate the ERGP and sectoral plans against set targets and progress;
• Identify gaps in the current eco-system and the key success factors;
• Deliver detailed three-feet implementation programme line by line and identify entry point projects;
• Identify key performance indicators, activities, budgets, timelines, milestones and responsible action parties;
• Breaking down silos and encouraging key players in MDAs to work together in an intensive co-creation manner;
• Mobilise private sector investment to finance specific capital projects.
Preparatory work for the labs is far advanced and the Ministry will be providing regular updates on progress on the labs.

Akpandem James
Special Adviser (Media) to the Hon. Minister