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By Shola Oyeyipo in Abuja
The Chairman, Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and Zamfara State Governor, Mr. Abdulaziz Yari, has said that there is need for political decisions that will expand the Nigerian economy to generate funding for all tiers of government to develop human capital and address other sundry issues.
This was the position expressed by Governor Yari, Friday, when he spoke on behalf of other governors at a special extended National Economic Council Meeting and the launch of Human Capital Development Programme with the theme: ‘Healthy, Educated and Productive Nigerians for a Globally Competitive Nation by 2030,’ held at the old banquet hall, presidential villa, Abuja. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo presided over the meeting.
Though the governor described human capital development as a key item in Nigeria’s development, he said without proactive action to increase revenue to the states, human capital development will remain a tall other.
He said: “We have been working to diversify our economy; not to rely on mono-product that is on and to ensure that we are looking inwards. We can’t deal with human capital development without funding. We have to be sincere to ourselves. We shouldn’t be playing politics with it.
“So, Mr. Chairman (referring to Osinbajo as NEC chairman), I hope from next year, we would take political decisions on what we are going to do. Looking inward; because from 2019, 2020-2023, I don’t think oil will be anything in the annals of our economy. So, therefore, we hope to seriously look inward to see how we can be able to sustain what we are planning to do beyond the year 2030.”
Earlier, Yari had said: “You will agree with me in the presentation made here on the issue of human capital development; it’s an important issue of national development in years to come, not just 2030 as being targeted. It is a long term project which needs the governors and other stakeholders, especially the development partners, to key in so that Nigeria can get out from where we are in terms of indices,” he said emphasising areas of health, nutrition and education.
“Since our inception in 2015, we have been working very hard to make the economy of Nigeria smoother and more transparent, and to ensure that each kobo counts.
“As the current manager managing a state out of 36 and as the chairman managing the entire economy, we have to work harder to make sure that we have available revenue to manage beyond health, education and nutrition and others. All these items are to do when funding is available, either to the federal government, states, local government as well as other development partners. So, we have to do something in area of revenue generation. It is very, very, very key! I am happy that NNPC and other revenue generating agencies are here. It is very key to understand that all these issues mentioned here would only go smoothly when we have available fund to move them forward.”
He reiterated that governors, considering human capital development as primary responsibility, are committed to it and prepared to support the federal government in its drive to improve the level of human capital in Nigeria.
“So, something I want all of us to take home is to ensure that we work hard in the area of revenue generation, because there is no how; we have to believe that these are capital intensive. We can’t continue to rely on development partners and other well-wishers,” the NGF chairman stated.
He said Zamfara State had 160,000 primary school education enrolment and willing to catch up with Ebonyi State which was the most backward state in the South in the past. He required to build 4770 classroom, but that despite every efforts, he had only been able to build 720.
“That is why I am talking about revenue because without revenue there is no how we would have been able to build about 750 blocks of classrooms of three and attend to other issues of health, nutrition etcetera. So, we have a very long way to go.”