Sequel to the crash of crude oil and the subsequent move by the present administration to diversify the economy and drive rapid industrialisation, President Muhammadu Buhari issued 10 executive orders in 2021 to fast-track Nigeria’s sustainable growth and development.
One of the orders, Executive Order No 005, on planning and execution of projects, promotion of Nigerian content in contracts and science, as well as in engineering and technology was specifically enacted to tackle mass capital flight lost to the importation of technologies readily available locally.
The revolutionary order mandates procuring entities to give preference to Nigerian companies and firms in the award of contracts, in line with the Public Procurement Act of 2007. It also prescribes the engagement of Nigerian professionals in areas where their requisite expertise are available.
The secretariat is domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (FMSTI), managed by the Strategy Implementation Task Office for Presidential Executive Order No. 5 (SITOPEO-5) and headed by a national coordinator.
The mandate of the secretariat includes overseeing a complaints/appeal board that will receive administrative complaints and appeals from communities, stakeholders, professional bodies, contractors, manufacturers around MDAs planning and execution of projects, promotion of Nigerian content in contracts and science, engineering and technology for remediation.
In keeping with its mandate, the SITOPEO-5 recently organised a sensitisation workshop for FMSTI staff on the full implementation of Presidential Executive Order No. 5 in Abuja.
Giving his keynote address, the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, explained that the order is more than just another move by the government to promote local content; rather, a policy on technology development.
Onu, who described the order as a revolutionary presidential executive order, said it is the ministry’s contribution to assist and transform the nation to its “God-ordained level”.
Giving the background to the policy, Onu explained that Nigeria still depends on expatriates for the turn-around maintenance of her refineries because there was no enabling policy for home-grown professionals to understudy the foreigners and invariably become self-sufficient in using those technologies.
He maintained that Nigeria needs to create the [right] environment using policy and legal framework to ensure that Nigerian professionals participate and acquire these technologies for national development.
The minister further expressed confidence that the complaints/appeal procedure would address the various complaints in all sectors of the economy, even as he congratulated the national coordinator of the strategy implementation task office of the Presidential Executive Order No 005 and his team for their hard work, urging them to continue to work hard until the nation’s goal is achieved, stressing that Nigerians are tired of importing everything she uses.
Earlier, in her welcome address, the ministry’s permanent secretary, Mrs. Monisola Udoh, restated that in February 2018, as a matter of necessity, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Executive Order 5 into action for the promotion of the planning and execution of projects, promotion of Nigerian content in contracts, science, engineering and technology for Nigerians and investors at home and the diaspora.
She reiterated that the order is, indeed, necessary and full implementation must be pursued.
In his paper presentation on the “Historical Background Functionality of Executive Order No. 5 and its Compliance”, the SITOPEO-5 national coordinator, Engr. Ibiam Oguejiofor pointed out that under the prevailing National Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (NSTIP), the Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation will collaborate with relevant ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government and organisations to promote the application of science, technology and innovation in all sectors of the Nigerian economy.
He added that remediation of the order enhances the desirability to increase the quantum of value created in the Nigerian economy through increased Nigerian content in public procurement.
Oguejiofor added that under the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (2017 – 2020), the ministry promotes the “Made in Nigeria Goods Campaign” and will harness STI to drive national competitiveness, productivity and economic activities in all sectors.
“The Executive Order 5 provides the environment for the Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation being a service ministry of the Federal Government to interact with all relevant agencies and organisations, synergising and promoting the application of science, technology and innovation results in all sectors of Nigeria’s economy – industrial growth, metrology, human capital development, agriculture, health, environment, energy, banking and finance, communications, women and youth empowerment, job creation, tourism, trade, science acculturation, meteorology, natural resources, building construction, national security, nuclear science and technology, sports and recreation, diplomacy, transport etc.,” he added.
Listing steps to legal implications and complaint/appeal guidelines for the order, the director, legal services, at the ministry, Barr. Yv Odu-Thomas, said the public may submit complaints/appeals for remediation in connection to violations of the Executive Order to the SITOPEO-5 through the FMSTI if the defaulting MDA fails to give a satisfactory response to the complainant’s appeal within 15 working days.
Highlighting a five-step procedure which shall guide the interventionist office, she added that where a criminal offence is involved, SITOPEO-5 shall submit a report to the council through the minister for consideration and onward transmission to the appropriate authorities for investigation and further necessary action.
Speaking on the applicability of the Executive Order 5 to the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, a SITOPEO-5 coordinator, Mr. Sunday Uyeh, posited that the full implementation of the order will no doubt support the realisation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise on June 12 to move 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.
He averred that the EO-5 is an interventionist Executive Order because of its bottom-to-head approach. Uyeh added that the Federal Government of Nigeria recognises her commitment to the promotion of domestic foreign investments, creation of employment and stimulation of the nation’s economy.
“Also, it is important to state that entrenching science, technology and innovation (STI) in everyday life is key to achieving the nation’s development goals across all sectors of the economy, particularly in the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy (STISA) 2024, STISA 2063, SDG 2030 and Vision 2020,” he added.