Nigeria Vice President Kashim Shettima has given an assurance that the President Bola Tinubu-led administration will reposition the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, for good and quality policy advice to government.
According to him, this had become pertinent given the very crucial and indispensable role the institute would be playing in shaping and retooling government’s policies.
He stressed that the Federal Government would make use of the beautiful recommendations brought by the institution.
The Vice President gave the assurance Tuesday when he played host to the management team from NIPSS led by the Director General, Prof. Ayo Omotayo, at the State House, Abuja.
He said, “We really need to recalibrate the system and see to it that all the beautiful policy recommendations by NIPSS are brought into reality, because the world is changing and the world is gradually becoming knowledge-driven.
“NIPSS is a policy think-tank for the government just as we have its equivalent in other parts of the world such as the Global Policy Institute, the Chatham House, the Adam Smith Institute, the Royal United Institute for Defence Studies in Russia, and the Hopkins Institute in the United States of America.”
Shettima cautioned Africa against missing the chance to fill the gap in a knowledge-driven world as she did during the agriculture and industrial revolution.
His words: “We missed the agricultural age; Africa missed the industrial age. We are now in the knowledge-driven age. When others are talking about artificial intelligence, of bio-technology, of internet things, we are busy dwelling on farmer-herders clash and things that we ought to have overcome decades ago”.
Asking the management of the Institute to make a formal presentation of the executive summaries of all its policy recommendations to the government, the Vice President said, “President Bola Tinubu is determined to reset the national agenda. President Bola Tinubu has the courage to take far-reaching decisions.
“As much as possible, we will support you not to compromise on your quality, not to compromise on your standard, so that you should not be a dumping ground for frustrated public officers because, at a point in time, that was what NIPSS degenerated into.
“If somebody is going to be punished then he is sent to NIPSS for a year. Somebody with such a mindset can hardly absorb what you are going to teach. So, this time around, as much as possible, we will minimise political patronage and send credible people within the required age bracket, within the required professional cadre so that whatever experiences and exposure they gain can be translated into the governance structure.”
Earlier in his remarks, the Director General of NIPSS said his management team came to brief the Vice President on the operations of the institute, adding that the organisation was established in 1979 to advise government on several policy directions and train high profile policy makers in the country.
His words, “There is no problem in the country that NIPSS has no solution to. NIPSS supports the Presidency in terms of policy. It deals with all sectors of the economy.”
According to him, the Vice President oversees the administration of NIPSS, approves the nominees to be trained, as well as approve the course of study for the session.
Also on Tuesday, the Vice President said the present administration at the centre is determined to provide the enabling environment for businesses to thrive in the country.
Accordingly, he tasked local and foreign investors to make Nigeria their investment hub.
The Vice President, who made the declaration when he hosted the management of First Surat Group, as well as top management of MTN Nigeria at the State House, Abuja, charged MTN Nigeria to facilitate and spearhead digital mobile money and digital education.
Shettima noted that the Tinubu administration is willing to partner with various stakeholders in the quest to help boost the nation’s productivity base and generate rapid employment.
Commending the professionalism and devotion of Surat Group, which runs Nizamiye hospital, Nizamiye Foundation, as well as its educational institutions, the Vice President noted that by extension, the Group, with its 2,500 staff, caters for over 100,000 extended families and dependents.
He stated: “Agriculture remains key to the Nigerian economy. You may wish to consider divesting from the health and education sectors where you have distinguished yourself and delve into agric business where we have huge investment potential.
“I assure you that my principal is creating the right environment for businesses to thrive. Property rights will be enforced and no one will be deprived of their rights. We need foreign direct investment right now more than ever before. Reach out to us and we will support you to succeed,” the VP promised.
For MTN Nigeria, Shettima assured the telecoms giant of Federal Government’s commitment to removing all obstacles militating against businesses.
He said gone are the days of double taxation and unnecessary bottlenecks, adding that President Tinubu’s policy on the ease of doing business would be carried to the later.
Promising that Nigeria’s economy would pick up massively in less than 15 months, he charged the telecommunication giant to consider fastracking digital mobile money, as well as digital education in Nigeria.
“I have never seen anyone committed to revamping Nigeria’s economy like President Tinubu. Yes, we may be facing challenges but believe me, in no distant time the country will be better off for it”, Shettima promised.
Earlier, Chairman of First Surat Group, Dr Ali Maina, thanked the Vice President, just as he said aside from the company’s vast interest and strategic partnerships, its corporate social responsibility has seen it investing millions of naira on the lives and welfare of Nigerians.
On his part, Chairman of MTN Nigeria, Ernest Ndukwe, and Chief Executive Officer, Karl Olutokun Toriola, said the telecoms firm remains committed to President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda.
They promised that in no distant time, MTN Nigeria will birth the much needed 5D network in Nigeria.
Deji Elumoye in Abuja