National President of the Unilag Alumni and co-founder of Eko Hospital, Dr. Sonny Kuku has called for clarity and consistency in government’s policies as well as alignment between monetary and fiscal regimes in order to build confidence and grow foreign direct investment (FDI).
He made this remark during a courtesy visit by members of the National Executive Committee of the Association to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in Abuja.
Declaring that doing business in Nigeria is still very tough in spite of the government’s best efforts, he called on the government to streamline the work of the ministries for co-ordination and effectiveness.
As part of its contribution to national development, the association offered to make available to the federal government the abundant skills and talents in its various sectoral alumni groups.
Kuku said the federal government can draw from the association’s various sectoral groups as resources and think-tanks.
Welcoming the visitors to the Villa, Osinbajo said the task of nation building is highly demanding and the federal government needs all the help it can get from every Nigerian.
He assured members of the association that he would continue to do his best in the discharge of his duties as Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and make the university and its alumni association proud.
Kuku noted that the association is keen to support the federal government in Nigeria’s trying times and to provide its perspective on the way forward for the nation and its economy as well as the university system.
He gave the Alumni’s perspectives on social development especially relating to human capital development, security and the provision of quality social services.
He emphasised the challenges of infrastructure improvement, diversifying the economy through agriculture and manufacturing, resolving foreign exchange issues and providing a more business-friendly environment. He also presented the Alumni’s perspectives on improving the university system in terms of funding and autonomy.
He urged the government to seek ways of engaging the youth, particularly on Information and Communication Technology (ICT), as a way of ensuring that the contribution of this vital segment of the population is efficiently exploited.
He added that the government needs to accelerate and sustain its interventions in power and transport sectors.
Highlighting the need for the government to make agriculture a top priority, Kuku said the government should focus on policies and programmes that would lead to significant improvements in agricultural yields and products quality.
“There must be proper administration, void of corruption and misappropriation of funds. It is time for a change. It is time for a revolution.”
The association recommended a three-point solution to the perennial problem of funding in the nation’s university system.
“We want the federal government to pay the universities per student instead of the current arrangement where subventions are doled out. Also, the Association wants our universities to place less emphasis on the tedious task of driving internally generated revenue because this distracts them from offering resourceful solutions to the nation’s challenges by way of inventions and breakthrough research, among others.
“Lastly, the students must be encouraged to pay reasonable fees and all levels of government (local, state and federal) give scholarships and student loans, just as individuals, communities and well-meaning organisations should also come to the party,” he said.
Giving the association’s perspective on university autonomy, Kuku said, “We believe that universities should become autonomous and governed independently, rather than through the Federal Ministry of Education, which could remain a regulato. We also believe that the structure of appointments to university councils should be reviewed.”