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Human Capital Index: FG reacts to World Bank ranking of Nigeria

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Following ranking of Nigeria among the seven worst countries in the newly released World Bank’s Human Capital Index report, the federal government (FG) has called on all stakeholders to find country-led solutions to the critical human capital challenges facing the nation.

TheNewsGuru (TNG) reports Minister of Finance, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, who made this known on Sunday, said some of the challenges facing the nation include demography, stunting and education.

The World Bank’s Human Capital Index report released on Thursday at the World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings, in Bali, Indonesia, ranked Nigeria 152 out of 157 countries on the list, with the country sharing bottom of the index with countries like Chad, South Sudan, Niger, Mali, Liberia.

The Minister of Finance, who said though data derived for the ranking was from a pre-2015 survey, said “While this is disheartening, it reinforces a call for action already embedded in the ‘Investing in People’ pillar of Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP)”.

Zainab said it was in lieu of disheartening reports such as this the National Economic Council (NEC), chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo comprising Federal Ministers and State Governors met on March 2018 in a special session to look at the role of Human Capital Investment in supporting pro-poor programmes and long-term economic growth.

“At the meeting, we formed the Human Capital Core Working Group comprising key agencies of the government, private sector, non-government, and development partners with a mandate to develop a unified vision for Human Capital Development, and to drive implementation of high-impact interventions that complement the ongoing efforts in health and education and poverty alleviation under the ERGP pillar ‘investing in our people,” the Minister recalled.

She stated that “In the immediate future, the Government of Nigeria will focus on high-impact policies and interventions to make dramatic progress in improving human capital. For example, Nigeria is on the cusp of eradicating polio.

“This would be an important accomplishment as the last polio cases were found in the conflict-stricken North-East states of Borno and Yobe. Other more complex human capital challenges like demography, out-of-school children, learning quality, under-five child mortality, youth employment, and women empowerment will require sustained long-term efforts”.

The Minister noted that the ERGP’s vision for a healthy, educated, productive, and resilient population is ambitious but necessary to ensure the nation can grow and compete in the economies of the future, reduce poverty and achieve peace and stability.

“To address these challenges, the Federal Government will continue to empower States to identify and implement programmes that will allow for citizens to access their right to basic health and education while holding States accountable to deliver results.

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“We call on all stakeholders, including community service organizations, the private sector, traditional leaders and development partners, to foster a national dialogue and work together with Government to find country-led solutions to the critical human capital challenges facing the nation. Some of the challenges include demography, stunting and education,” she stated.

 

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