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Nigeria’s HCD must be sustained—Osinbajo

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By Abraham Adekunle

Vice President said human capital development drives economic growth.

Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has said that Nigeria must pay attention to Human Capital Development (HCD) to drive the desired economic growth. He made this call at the Peer Review Meeting of the HCD State Focal Persons which was held on April 4, 2023, in Abuja. This meeting is a program held by the National Economic Council (NEC). Osinbajo, who was represented by his Deputy Chief of Staff Mr. Ade Ipaye, emphasized that human capital development plays a critical role in tackling poverty and ensuring participatory and sustainable economic growth.

He urged the focal persons not to relent in sensitizing state governments to ensure the impacts of the program were felt at the grassroots. Highlighting the progress made so far in accelerating HCDs in Nigeria, the vice president said that state governments have shown their commitment to the NEC program by prioritizing HCD investments and facilitating national discussions on HCD challenges and the potential solutions. This is part of the plans of implementing the program so that HCD, which is a key metric in measuring how a country is fairing, will be sustained and expanded.

Since inception, HCD focal persons meeting has made incredible strides.

Human capital development is the process of acquiring and increasing the number of persons who have the skills, education and experience that are critical for the economic growth and development of a country. The vice president said that tremendous strides have been made in the implementation of the program at the national and sub-national levels since its inception. Some of the notable achievements include the inauguration of the national HCD strategy, constitution of state HCD councils and technical working groups.

Other achievements include the development of national HCD communication strategy, the organization of regional HCD conferences, and strategic partnerships and alliances being forged across several stakeholders’ groups. Osinbajo is optimistic that the successes achieved so far with the program will provide the needed confidence in implementing its third phase successfully. He said the objectives will be met and the 2030 on HCD target will also be achieved across the three thematic areas of education, standard of living, and health of humans.

Community-based demonstration of the program in its simplest form.

He said, “This phase is crucial to national success as it would be taking HCD to the grassroots where change is most needed and advocacy critical in where the program is adopted.” The third phase of the program includes the inauguration of the community-based demonstration of the HCD program in its simplest form. The successes recorded could also be replicated across various communities in each Local Government Areas across Nigeria. Extending his gratitude to the focal persons for committing to the program, Osinbajo said the successes would not have been achieved without their driving it and reminding the government of its importance.

Miss Yosola Akinbi, Coordinator of Core Working Group, HCD in Nigeria, said that critical areas of the implementation and management of the program must happen at the grassroots. She noted that HCD was the software of any development. She also stated that the government and its citizens must build a country where the skills are retained. Also speaking at the meeting, some of the focal persons during their state presentations said that the core of the HCD drive was the empowerment of the youth to have the capacity and skills needed in creating and seeking employment.

State focal persons share their participation in the program.

Mr. Issac Uduak said that the administration of Governor Udom in Akwa Ibom took labor force participation seriously through its industrialization policy that leveraged a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) to revolutionize industries in Africa. The state government has gone beyond mere policy implementation to ensuring the effective execution of its industrialization policies in creating wealth for its people. Mrs. Habiba Suleiman, Nassarawa Focal Person, said that the program in the state concentrated on youth development. She said youths were trained in courses such as team building, work ethics and business models. Mr. Amos Nuhu of Adamawa said that the state built the capacity of 1,000 health workers under the program while improving the utilization of child health and nutrition.

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