RECENTLY, the federal government, held a closed-door meeting with the National Economic Council’s Human Capital Development’s Core Working Group, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. There, the government disclosed that it will continue to drive initiatives to get Nigerians out of poverty and improve the country’s human capital development indices.
VICE president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, while making the disclosure assured that the National Executive Council will ensure a high level representation across the states, on human capital development.
ACCORDING to him, “poverty … is both a cause and consequence of some of what we are looking at in our human capital development deficit. Really, … we need to focus a lot more on getting out of poverty.
HE cited federal government’s Trader-moni Scheme, which was launched recently as one initiative that is basically giving credits to petty traders across the country in the markets, adding that government will do more in terms of giving credits, as well as whatever assistance and support to the people.
THE Vice President emphasised on the importance of improving data collection at all levels to ensure effective tracking of Human Capital Development outcome areas in the states.
WHEN it is recalled that months ago, Britain’s Prime Minister, Theresa May, during a visit to Africa, observed that Nigeria is home to more very poor people than any other nation in the world, the need to address human capital development deficit becomes dire.
ACCORDING to Ms May, about 87million Nigerians, which is almost half of the nation’s official population figure of 180million are living on less than two dollars a day.
ABOUT three weeks ago, the World Bank made a disclosure that the global target of ending poverty by 2030 is unlikely to be met as people living on less than two dollars a day have fallen to record below about 655million worldwide, the need to address human capital development deficit becomes dire.
ACCORDING to World Bank President, Jim Yong Kim, this presents nine percent of the entire estimated world population with about 480million people-six percent of the world likely to remain in abject poverty in 2030 if there is no significant shift in economic policies.
AS A matter of fact, Nigeria, over the years, has been in a steady contest with poverty. The poverty challenge is caused largely by corruption by government officials, embezzlement of public funds, large scale unemployment, over population due to lack of family planning, bad living conditions, high cost of accommodation due to scarcity of houses, inadequate modern medical facilities, high cost of living due to inflation and preference of foreign products to local ones, among others.
TODAY, the poverty index is 44.2 percent and the standard of living is worsening by the day to the extent that majority at both government and private employments borrow money to feed their families and provide other basic needs like clothing and shelter.. Yet, they are the employed persons whose fates are better than the vast majority of the populace who are unemployed.
WE DEEM the federal government’s moves to reduce poverty through human capital development a step in the right direction towards heeding the World Bank and May’s timely warnings on the devastating time bomb which poverty pose to our country and the entire world.
BESIDES, human capital development is very necessary for Nigeria and other African countries to rise up to the new global business frontiers. Otherwise, the country will continue to operate at a disadvantage while the rest of the world scramble to share the African market.
NATIONAL Light therefore, commends the federal government for long overdue initiatives to reduce poverty, particularly the recent Trader-moni Scheme and moves to invest in building human capital, among others. We equally commend Anambra State Government, for the various skills acquisition programmes being offered to the youths, particularly the recent resolve to train 10,000 youths on productive skills every year and call on other state governments to emulate the lofty feet.
IT IS however, our view that no amount of empowerment and human capital development can be enough to reduce poverty in Nigeria without the government being serious in fighting corruption, reducing the cost of education and accommodation, reducing inflation, embracing family planning, mechanised agriculture and working on the psyche of the populace to begin to appreciate and patronise local products more than foreign ones, among others.
THERE is also need for the government at all levels to create jobs by investing in job creating strategies like rebuilding of infrastructure, renovating abandoned houses, developing the energy sector and boosting national economy through exportation of products among others.
INTERESTINGLY, the FG’s recent moves to end poverty coincides with the clamour of the Nigerian Labour Congress(NLC) for the government to increase the minimum wage of government workers. We therefore urge the government to see the issue of raising the minimum wage of workers as very important since a full time worker earning the minimum wage could lift a whole family out of poverty.
WAGE increase can equally help to reduce the alarming rate of bribery and corruption among the workers of various institutions.
MEANWHILE, individuals should endeavour to acquire education and learn one trade or vocation, irrespective of the challenges they are facing, as well as embarking on one form of agriculture or another as part of their contributions to poverty reduction. This will enable them provide their daily bread and dissuade them from engaging in armed robbery, drug abuse, prostitution and other vices.