The Core Working Group (CWG) of the Human Capital Development project of the National Economic Council will, this week, in conjunction with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) engage with the North Central and North East geo-political zones of the country to ramp up the Human Capital Development indicators of the country.
Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, Head, Media and Public Affairs, NGF, Secretariat, in a statement, noted that Ms Yosola Akinbi, the coordinator of the CWG, gave the hint while addressing the States’ Focal Persons of the program, in two different virtual conferences, involving the North west and South-south geo-political zones recently.
Bello-Barkindo said the cumulative effect of this is to drop the number of out of school children by at least 70% while raising the number of those who obtain good grades in reading and mathematics substantially.
The coordinator disclosed that this has become imperative because of the rating of the country on the HCD indicators when compared to other countries.
“The Nigerian Government”, according to Yosola Akinbi, “recognizes the critical role that HCD plays in driving sustained economic growth, boosting productivity and reducing poverty.”
This according to Akinbi strongly supports the need to invest in people through healthcare, education and the labour force, which led to the setting up of the Core Working Group with the view to accelerating human capital and development in Nigeria.
Since it was set up, the HCD drivers had emphasised three thematic areas and six outcome areas as the fulcrum of HCD growth in the country. They include healthcare and nutrition, education and the labour force.
Bello-Barkindo noted that these choices are deliberate, adding that they would each respectively provide equitable access to decent healthcare to every Nigerian, a quality, inclusive and functional education system and empower the nation’s youth with the capacity and skills to create or seek employment anywhere.
The National Economic Council comprising of all the Governors and the VP established the Core Working Group to drive the actualization of the human capital dev agenda of the country.
This group also draws inspiration from the support of Government, the Private sector and international donor organisations.
These include the Ministries of Health, Finance, Budget and National Planning, Education and Labour and Productivity and the SDGs and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, the Aliko Dangote Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the DFID, UNDP, UNICEF on the part of the international donor organisations.
The Core Working Group in collaboration with State Focal Persons, Development Partners and Other Key Stakeholders have articulated a long-term vision for HCD in the Country. In similar vein the states are expected to develop a vision that is tailor-made for their peculiar environments.
However, all the various aspirations would eventually align with the national vision of improving nutrition and reducing childhood stunting by half from 44% to 22% by 2030 reducing under 5 mortality by half and also reducing maternal mortality by half as well, all under the health and nutrition thematic objective.
Under education the objective is to double school enrolment, double girl-child enrolment as well as double secondary school completion from 42% to 80% by 2030.
The cumulative effect of this is to drop the number of out of school children by at least 70% while raising the number of those who obtain good grades in reading and mathematics substantially.
The last thematic outcome is expectedly the result of the first two. By this the CWG envisions that the rate of youth employment would have risen from 23% to 46% and the female labour force would have doubled from 21% to 41%.
Once vigorously pursued and meticulously calibrated between the federal and subnational governments and down to the local government structures, it is expected that the nation would have produced 24 million healthy educated and employable people by 2030.
The target of the year 2030 is also deliberate, the coordinator of the CWG explained because it corresponds with the year in which all global development aspirations would terminate. Nigeria wouldn’t be an exception.
It is with this ambition that the Core Working Group has developed State Level Engagement Strategies to ensure ownership and the buy-in of all States of the Federation in the HCD agenda.
Furthermore, on what the CWG has been working at is to put on ground a transformational process that would ensure that all States take ownership of the program, set their priorities and targets across HCD outcome areas, put in place an Implementation structure as well as a robust monitoring and evaluation framework.
It is important to mention too that the State Governors have fully bought into the HCD agenda and have thrown their weight behind the transformation of the human capital capacity of all Nigerians from an unemployable citizenry to a healthy and competitive one.
Before the Covid19 Challenge, the CWG conducted visits to some States of the Federation including Kaduna, Akwa Ibom, Ogun and Ekiti States towards ensuring a nationwide buy-in by State Governments and Key Stakeholders in every State of the Federation.
Needless to mention, it is in the light of the Covid19 challenge that the Core Working Group reverted to conducting online Regional HCD engagement sessions to facilitate peer learning, experience sharing amongst States and provide implementation support to State Teams towards driving the HCD agenda. The Regional Engagement specifies Steps States need to take to accelerate HCD in their respective States.
State Focal persons who have been attending these regional engagements are expected to further the HCD agenda by organising their own activities at level to sensitize their people and ensure that the messages and mandates of the HCD plan deep-dives into the grassroots and is internalised and domesticated.
By Chidi Ugwu,