By; Sunday Ode, Abuja.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved the establishment of an Industrial Council headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in order to stimulate industrial activities in the country.
Briefing State House Correspondents after the meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, said the industrial council will engage other stakeholders, particularly the private sector to come up with a policy for the industrial sector in the country.
Enelamah who was joined by Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole and his ministry of Information and Culture counterpart, Lai Mohammed, during the briefing heexplained that the industrial council will also have two vice presidents from both the government and the private sector with membership drawn from relevant ministries.
He said: “The second area that was also considered was industry. We received approval for the establishment of Nigeria Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council or Industrial Council.
“The main objective of this council is to assist the government in formulating policies and strategies that will enhance the performance of the industrial sector.
“Many of you will recall the economic and growth recovery plan which is now being launched by government includes Industrialization. It is one of the key pillars. Of the top three priorities, industrialization is one and you do need a mechanism for actualising that.
“So, the purpose of the Industrial council is to create a platform for partnering the private sector and various interests to work together and achieve our goals.
Also speaking at the press conference, Adewole disclosed that FEC also approved a draft bill to back the upgrade of the National Centre for Disease Control into a full fledged agency with its accompanying board, as well as personnel and a CEO to be appointed.
He said there is already a budget line for the Centre, with no additional expenses to be incurred by the federal government.
According to the Minister of Health, the center although operational since 2012, has been instrumental in combating the deadly ebola virus and lassa fever.
He said, the agenda is to strengthen the public health intervention as well as to ensure proactiveness on the part of the authorities against future epidemic.
“To move the agenda of public health intervention forward, what is known internationally is that they will always be another epidemic or another disease outbreak but what we do not know is when and where it will happen. What we need to do is to get ourselves prepared for the next epidemic.
“The National Council of Health in its meeting in Lagos in 2007, took a decision to establish a Nigerian center for disease control. The center became operational in 2012 and actually constituted a major force in combating ebola and has been very operational in handling lessa fever in different parts of the country.
“So, what we have done today is to provide legal framework for this agency so that it can validly perform the role that is expected of such frontline agency.
“It is patterned after the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention which was established in 1946. The whole concept is not new what is new is that we decided to move ahead with it in Nigeria.
“There is also a European Centre for Disease Control established in 2004 and in 2013 following a resolution in Abuja, African Union also decided to establish a center for disease control.
“Our center for disease control is a frontline agency that has been recognised internationally, it has been designated as the regional center for disease control in West Africa, it has also been designated as the regional center for the African center for disease and prevention.
“So with this approval we can then move on working with National Assembly to put in place the necessary legislative action so that it can formally become an Act of Parliament,” he said.