Minister Blames Past Years Of Under-Investment For Nigeria’s Woeful Human Capital Ranking

Mrs. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, Nigeria’s Finance Minister, on Sunday blamed the country’s woeful ranking on the World Bank’s Human Capital Index on long years of under-investment in human capital.
At separate meetings with officials of global ranking agencies- Moody’s and Fitch, during the just concluded annual meetings of the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund (IMF), Mrs. Ahmed described the “disheartening” and “depressing” results rather as a wake-up, not a source of discouragement. She said the country has realized the challenge, which the government has been addressing.
Nigeria was top on the bottom six of the Human Development Index (HCI) report released by the World Bank, ranking 152 with a score of – 44%, out of 157 countries, beating fellow African nations- Liberia, 153; Mali, rank 154; Niger, 155; South Sudan, 156; and Chad, 157.
Data used for the index, she noted, was derived from a pre-2015 survey, adding nonetheless that “it reinforces a call for action already embedded in the ‘Investing in People’ pillar of ERGP (Economic & Recovery & Growth Plan).
Meanwhile, she continued, “in the immediate future, the government of Nigeria will focus on high-impact policies and interventions to make dramatic progress in improving human capital. For example, Nigeria is on the cusp of eradicating polio. This would be an important accomplishment as the last polio cases were found in the conflict-stricken North-East states of Borno and Yobe.
“Other more complex human capital challenges like demography, out-of-school children, learning quality, under-five child mortality, youth employment, and women empowerment will require sustained long-term efforts,” she stressed.
At the meetings with the rating agencies, the Minister said she presented a summary of the Federal Government’s recent economic and financial developments, in addition to facts and figures on the 2018 budget.
She also seized the opportunity to present facts behind the nation’s headline numbers and ascertained the government’s position on the management of the economy. They were presented with details and implementation of the ERGP development by the administration in response to the recession, so as to fundamentally change the direction of national economic development.
The meetings, she continued, offered opportunity “for the rating agencies and to the benefit of Nigeria, for the sovereign rating analysts to be able to objectively evaluate Nigeria’s credit.”
Speaking at a special lecture on “The Challenges of Human Development in 21st Century Africa” on Friday, at the prestigious Oxford University, United Kingdom of Friday, October 12, 2018, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said the Muhammadu Buhari administration has spent N2.7tr on capital projects in 2016 and 2017.”
The amount spent on infrastructure such as rail, roads, and power in particular, despite earning 60% less than previous administration, is “the highest in the nation’s history.”