Olaopa wants more investment in human capital for better GDP
He said the only driver of the GDP which grew by 2.28 per cent in the third quarter of 2019 was from oil output and exchange rate, while 7.9 million Nigerians became unemployed in 21 months, adding that it did not augur well for other sectors and the economy.
He said though the growth was significant to the country, there was the need to diversify to other sectors if there must be reasonable growth, rather than depending on oil alone. According to him, the level of employment in the economy determines the purchasing power and the extent to which people pay tax, especially as the financial bill has been passed by the Senate.
The former permanent secretary to the federation, who gave a keynote address at the Institute of Strategic Management, Nigeria yearly Strategists’ Dinner in Lagos, said government should be strategic in its dealing with citizens by ensuring a reform blueprint that leads to a capacitating social policy, especially in the redistribution of resources among its citizens as a means of achieving welfare objectives that empower them.
This, according to him, involves investing in employment, healthcare, housing, and other infrastructural deficits, as well as opening up the society in ways that undermine inequalities, protect the vulnerable and facilitate democratic relations. For him, the essence of good governance is to ensure that the citizens are sufficiently empowered to live good lives and achieve self-realisation.
“Some elements will still need to be tackled. The elements of infrastructural deficit and the extent it is propelling better investment that enhances capacity utilisation in the industry, as well as minimise capital flight. Nigeria has grown to a point where graduates are becoming robbers. What you don’t pay in education, you pay in security, protecting lives and all of that,” he said.
Olaopa, who spoke on the theme: “Strategizing the Nigerian Project”, advised that the government should be creative in project financing strategy and its approach, adding, “The credibility of the economy is increasing, but we need to do a lot more in security because we need a lot of foreign direct investment and it has to also groom the quality of human capital.
“We have a lot of very highly educated people but without sufficient skills, especially in the lower level and that is why instead of employing our people, most of the multinationals that have handled the jobs here, bring labourers from their places and even exporting from other African countries.
“The approach on employability, re-skilling and all is not deliberate enough and there is a need to rethink that entire framework. We can’t be talking about embedding entrepreneurship in the graduate programme. What we require is far more than that and when children have invested in training themselves, acquired all the skills and they cannot move ahead, it is very frustrating. So we need to invest more in human capital development and that involves going to the foundation of the economy in the education sector.”
Speaking on the theme: ” The Role of Strategy in Forging National Cohesion”, the President, Institute of Strategic Management, Nigeria (ISMN), Dr. Emman Oyeka said there was the need to employ a strategy to achieve national building.
“Strategy is crucial for this nation. Our nation is at a crossroads, only the blind will not see that we face grievous problems. There is the need for the role of strategy in forging national cohesion and building the country,” he added.
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