The Federal Government of Nigeria has hired some consultants from Malaysia to help the Federal Ministry of Budget and Planning set up three focused labs in the country.
The cost of hiring the Malaysian consultants will be N458 million ($1.5 million), an official said.
The Minister of Budget and Planning, Udoma Udoma, said the setting up of the labs is part of the government’s implementation strategy for the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP.
Mr. Udoma said he presented a memo to that regard at Wednesday’s meeting of the Federal Executive Council, FEC. He added that the council granted the approval.
Addressing State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, Mr. Udoma said, “We intend to conduct three labs – one in agriculture and transportation, one in power and gas and one in manufacturing and processing.”
He also said the cost covers about three months while the duration of the lab is expected to last a minimum of 13 weeks.
“It will cover three phases: pre- lab activities for four weeks; phase two, conduction of the labs themselves for six weeks; and phase three, post lab activities for three weeks.
“And for each lab you will have at least a 100 people from a cross section of the public and private sectors,” he said.
The minister said the consultant is just for the pilot phase of the programme after which Nigerians will take over.
“They will help us and bring their international connections, reach and give it credibility. It is for $500,000 per lab,” Mr. Udoma said.
He also said the key objectives of the labs are to identify all relevant key players from the public and private sector that are crucial in the delivery and implementation of the ERGP initiative “so as to create ownership early on in the development process.”
He said the labs will review and re-evaluate the ERGP and sectoral plans against set targets and progress and will also identify gaps in the current eco system and the key success factors.
“We will further deliver detailed three phase line by line implementation activities. We will identify entry point of projects, we will identify key performance indicators, breaking down silos and encourage key players.”
The minister said the focus of the lab is to mobilise private sector investment to finance specific capital projects.
“As you know public resources are limited, so these labs will bring in private sector players.
“We will look at the various areas including infrastructure, manufacturing and bring them in and mobilise private sector financing and resources for the labs.
“So what council has approved today is that we bring in some consultants who did a similar thing in Malaysia to try to help us build our own capacity, they will just help us at the beginning and after that we will take over and do it ourselves,” he said.