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Developing human capital, building infrastructure achievable, says Osinbajo

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Yemi Osinbajo

Notwithstanding the current turbulent socio-economic conditions in the country, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, has insisted that generating economic growth, developing human capital, and building Nigeria’s infrastructural backbone is doable.

To achieve this, Osinbajo said all tiers of government and critical partners ought to be focused, open-minded and collaborative in meeting shared aspirations to provide better and decent jobs for Nigerians, especially the youths.

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The Vice President expressed these views while declaring open the virtual meeting of the 20th Joint Planning Board and National Council on Development Planning in Maiduguri, Borno State.

The Vice President, who spoke mainly on ‘COVID-19 Pandemic, Security, Climate Change, Education, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement’, noted that these issues require deliberate policy responses and deserve the attention of economic managers.

On the government’s response to the pandemic, the Vice President said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a unique and devastating impact on our health, economic systems, and social life. For vibrant and enterprising people like ours, the whole experience of lockdowns and social distancing has been quite trying while economic difficulties made existing socio-economic conditions even harder.

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“The Federal Government responded by way of the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) which focused on saving and creating businesses and jobs while boosting local production. Thus we had the very impactful MSME Survival Fund, the Agriculture for Food and Jobs, Mass Housing, the Rapid Response Register, and the SolarPowerNaija Programmes, among other things.

“It can be said that the ESP worked in the sense that the economy recovered quite early from the recession occasioned by the pandemic, but it must also be said that we are not yet out of the woods.”

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Continuing, he said: “Some people have described the current wave as a pandemic of the un-vaccinated in the sense that it is people who have not been vaccinated in developed economies that are most seriously affected. As economic managers, we are faced with two related challenges that might hinder our return fully to economic activity.”

“First, we must find the resources to procure and administer sufficient quantities of COVID-19 vaccines and actively encourage our people to get vaccinated to enable us as a country to reach herd immunity. Secondly, we must ponder on ways and means of restoring and boosting local capacity to produce vaccinations, not only for COVID-19 but for the other diseases that continue to stalk the land.”

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