THE 25TH ANNUAL LAPO DEVELOPMENT FORUM COMMUNIQUE
NON-STATE ACTORS, KEY TO NIGERIA’S SOCIO-ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION
A communiqué issued at the end of the 25th Annual LAPO Development Forum held at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos State on Friday, August 24th 2018, under the theme: Towards Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation of Nigeria: Options for Non-State Intervention.
The 25th Annual LAPO Development Forum of the Lift Above Poverty Organisation (LAPO), a frontline development organization, was chaired by Chief Philip C. Asiodu, Diplomat and former Permanent Secretary and Petroleum Minister.
Stakeholders in the public and private sector including members of the civil society, government representatives, entrepreneurs, policymakers and regulatory agencies, key players in the financial sector, trade groups and professional associations, academic institutions and the media, converged to discuss the keynote paper delivered by Prof. Mike Obadan, a renowned Professor of Economics and Non-Executive Director of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
After a diligent deliberation of the keynote paper, the Forum came up with the following 11-point communiqué as follows:
- The participants congratulated LAPO for sustaining the Annual LAPO Development Forum since 1994, addressing human development challenges with a range of financial, health and social empowerment products and services and for providing 9,159 Nigerians with gainful employment.
- The Forum averred that Non-state actors are fundamental agents in helping to achieve both national and international development goals, such as the Sustainable Development Goals and those around climate change. It therefore recommended synergy between the public and private sector in the pursuit of national development.
- The Forum expressed concern that no meaningful efforts has been made to diversify the economy despite successive governments’ promises to that end.
- NSAs should be vibrant and active in the promotion of human rights, democracy and good governance, especially in the fight against corruption which has underdeveloped Nigeria.
- The participants affirmed that there can be no socio-economic transformation in Nigeria and indeed in any developing nation without the active participation of non-state actors such as business leaders, scholars, labour, and civil society organizations.
- The LAPO Forum enjoined government to create social safety nets and enabling environment for peace; security and stability, just as it canvassed the formulation of a new National Vision and Agenda 2040 that would gravitate Nigeria out of poverty and engender progress, unity and greatness.
- Government should create a conducive environment for the private sector to thrive and participate in the policy and development process and complement the state in its quest to achieve socio-economic transformation of the country.
- Government at all levels should change their adversarial perception of NSAs and rather see them as partners in progress.
- On their part, Non-Sate Actors/Civil Society Organizations should make conscious efforts to address issues affecting their credibility and acceptability as partners in development such as weak institutional capacity, lack of internal democracy, non-collaboration among themselves, limited transparency and accountability in their operations. They should forge alliances and common front to attract better funding to implement developmental activities.
- Non-state security actors should complement the formal security agencies towards addressing the current challenging security situation in the country. They should however be well trained and regulated so that they operate within the ambits of the law.
- The private sector should key into the Global Compact, launched by the United Nations Secretary-General at the 1999 annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, which challenges individual corporations and representative business associations to support the nine principles which relate to human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.
Godwin Ehigiamusoe PhD Sabina Idowu-Osehobo
Founder, LAPO Executive Director