Nigerians everywhere deserve healthy, productive lives, says Osinbajo
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, says Nigerians everywhere deserve to live healthy, educated and productive lives regardless of where in Nigeria they reside, what God they worship or language they speak.
Osinbajo said this on Friday in Abuja while addressing the extended National Economic Council (NEC) meeting with focus on Human Capital Development (HCD) held at the State House Banquet Hall.The theme of meeting was “Achieving Nigeria’s Visions for Human Capital Development.’’
The vice president said that the Federal Government was fully committed to ensuring that it positively transformed the Nigerian experience as it related to the quality of life and well-being of its people.
He said that Nigeria had struggled with high levels of poverty for several decades in spite of its potential, as the last poverty study done by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in 2012 showed that 112 million Nigerians were living in extreme poverty.
Osinbajo said that when the present government came into office in 2015, three things were very clear, one that it needed to move quickly and ambitiously in its response to the issues of poverty and malnutrition and disease and illiteracy.
“Two, there would be no quick fixes or miracles cures as it would be a long and painful journey out of the status quo which required patience and consistence in the implementation of our interventions.
“Three, just as we are reaping the consequences of the poor decisions we have taken in the past, we can change the consequences that await us in the future by changing the decisions we take in the present.
“These realisations have guided us over the last three years, even as we have developed a vision for a Nigeria that is healthy, educated and positioned to fully unleash its development potential.
“This is what informed the creation and implementation of our Social Investment Programme, which is now the largest in Africa.
“A multi-faceted intervention simultaneously targeting poverty, hunger, unemployment, financial exclusion, and the absence of skills needed for our large youth population to thrive in the 21st century.
“Nigerians everywhere deserve to live healthy, educated and productive lives, regardless of where in Nigeria they live or what God they worship or what language they speak.’’
He said that the N-Power, Jobs Scheme for unemployed graduates had more than doubled since then to cater to 500,000 beneficiaries; while Trader-Moni Microcredit scheme for petty traders excluded from formal lending opportunities had benefited well over a million people.
The vice president said there was also Market-Moni, designed to provide loans to market women and traders, artisans, enterprising youths and small scale farmers and agric workers nationwide.
“In terms of healthcare, we have recorded a landmark accomplishment, the setting up of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund, with seed funding of one per cent of our Consolidated Revenue Fund as outlined in the National Health Act.
“I am pleased to say that Nigeria is for the first time complying with these stipulations since the Act was signed into law in 2014,’’ he said.
In a presentation, Mr Yosola Akinbi, HCD Core Working Group (CWG) Coordinator, said that the HCD initiative was a response to Nigeria’s ranking as a country with low HCD.
She said that the CWG selected six outcomes and several proxy measures to access and track progress across HCD thematic areas.
Akinbi listed the areas as under-five mortality rate, malnutrition, adult mortality, expected years of school completion, quality of learning and labour force participation.
She said that Nigeria’s vision to accelerate HCD by 2030 was in three strategic themes, health and nutrition, education and labour force.
“Provide equitable access to affordable and quality healthcare for every Nigerian, promote a quality, inclusive and functional educational system and empower youth to have the capacity and skills to create or seek employment,’’ she said.
In his remarks, Chairman, Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), Gov. Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara, said that the governors had been working hard to ensure economic growth and promote transparency in governance.
He said that finance was critical in addressing all the issues bordering on HCD.
According to him, more efforts should be channeled toward revenue generation in order to achieve the vision of HCD.
In goodwill message, Mr Rachid Benmessaoud, Country Director, World Bank Nigeria, said that for the world to do well, Nigeria had to do well.
He said that the Federal Government’s Economic Growth and Recovery Plan (ERGP) was yielding results.
Mrs Debbie Palmer, DFID Country Representative, in a goodwill message, said that given that Nigeria would be the third largest nation in the world by 2050, it needed well-nourished, healthy, educated and skilled people.
Also speaking, Sen. Lanre Tejuosho, the chairman, Senate Committee on Health, urged the executive to ensure timely release of money appropriated by the National Assembly for HCD.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that there were also goodwill messages from representatives of UNICEF, Dangote Group, Belinda and Gates Foundation,and U.S. Mission among others.
The extended NEC had in attendance state governors, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, private sector representatives and development partners.The highlight of the event was unveiling of the Vision to Accelerate Human Capital Development by 2030 by the vice president.