Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has called on state governors and other stakeholders to stop the blame game and resist playing politics with issues of human capital development because now is the time to get the job done.
Osinbajo urged the governors to stop indulging in a favorite pastime that has become an unhealthy preoccupation – blaming predecessors or political parties for what ails their respective states.
This is even as he has launched Human Capital Development Programme; Healthy, Educated and Productive Nigerians for a Globally Competitive Nation by 2030.
Osinbajo said, “As a government, we are fully aware of the issues and we are committed to transforming them. There is no denying that debilitating levels of poverty existed inspite of huge earnings in the past. We are doing exactly what countries like India and Brazil did in similar situation for instance kickstarting the Social Investment Programme (SIP).
“Since the meeting in March, we have made significant progress, adding more than two million people to the Programme, feeding over nine million school children everyday et al. We must ensure that what we are investing in must produce tangible results.
He made the call Friday at the extended National Economic Council (NEC) meeting at the State House Conference Centre, Abuja, which focused on the Human Capital Development hinged on three main thematic areas; namely health and nutrition, education and labour force participation.
“The Federal Government must together with states collaborate on issue of human capital development, it should not be a platform for blame games. Concerted collaboration is required now so we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past. Constant communication with the people is equally important because the resources belong to them.”
The Vice President hammered on the need to promote transparency, accountability, improving existing data.
In his remarks, Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) chairman and Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, on his part said governors have been working very hard to make Nigeria’s economy work in a more transparent manner and remain accountable to the people, adding “we have tried to make sure that every cent is spent.”
According to him, the concerns raised on human capital development can only be addressed with availability of funds. He said, “I can assure you that the governors are committed but we have to work harder in the area of revenue generation to address all these competing demands.”
Yari queried the fact that VAT has remained stagnant at 5percent for the past 25 years, insisting that a political decision has to be taken to increase it in the new year.
The World Bank Nigeria Country Director, Rachid Benmessaoud, said on human capital development, for the world to do well, Nigeria has to do well because the world relies on Nigeria’s human Capital. He added that the quality of education improves young person’s opportunity to earn a living and help the economy, urging the government to work on improving human capital development.
The Country Director DFID, Debbie Palmer, said Nigeria is ranked near the bottom of the World Bank’s Human Capital Index (152 out of 157 countries globally), describing it as a rudewakeup call for everyone in Nigeria and for everyone who cares about Nigeria.
She said given “Nigeria will be the third largest Nation in the world by 2050 we need well nourished, healthy, educated and skilled people who can go out and get jobs.
“The projected population growth could be a big boost to Nigeria’s economic fortunes with more people of working age driving economicprogress. But for this to happen we urgently need increased investment inservice delivery to avoid an undernourished, unhealthy and unemployednation
USAID Country Director, On his part said, the US government will continue to honour the partnership in the areas of education and health as well as with the private sector.
Ms. Zouera Youssoufou is the managing director and CEO of Dangote Foundation, also commended for its commitment to see to improvement in human capital development.
The Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), listed quality education, special agencies for skills, entrepreneurial support, vocational training and improved infrastructure and improved health care sector as factors that will improve the country’s human capital development.
Those in attendance at the NEC extended National Economic Council, were Governors of all the States of the Federation or their representatives, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, development partners among others.