Vice President Kashim Shettima on Monday approved the constitution of a multi-sectoral committee to drive the Federal Government’s Human Capital Development (HCD) programme.
The multi-sectoral team consists of federal and state governments, donors and partners “who are expected to convene every two weeks to review the progress of work in addressing the objectives of the HCD programme”, a statement by Shettima’s Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Media and Communications, Stanley Nkwocha, revealed Monday.
The statement is titled, ‘Human capital development: FG moves to address Nigeria’s global performance lag’.
This followed the VP’s meeting with World Bank’s Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri; the Chairman of the Dangote Foundation, Aliko Dangote; the Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Mr. Tony Elumelu, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Ali Pate, among others at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The HCD programme focuses on three thematic areas: Health and Nutrition, Labour Force Participation and Education, and six essential human capital development areas, including under-five mortality rate, malnutrition, adult mortality, expected years of school, quality of learning and labour force participation rate.
At the meeting, Shettima stressed the need for government and partners to invest in human capital development to create a workforce that is globally competitive and adaptable to the modern demands of the 21st century.
He said, “This gathering marks our collective recommitment to redirecting the promise and potential of our human capital towards safeguarding the economy. It’s an honour to host you and I eagerly anticipate celebrating the success of the initiatives uniting us.
“Our presence today signifies a tacit understanding that our future is intricately linked to our human capital development.
“We have witnessed the growing shift towards knowledge and service-based economies and the advantages they offer, particularly to our youths”.
Shettima acknowledged the significant impact the two Nigerian business tycoons, Dangote and Elumelu, have had on the population, noting that every society rises and falls on the quality of its leadership.
Earlier, Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Pate, said FG’s ongoing efforts are putting the people at the centre of the ‘Renewed Hope Agenda’, even as he emphasised the importance of investing in human resources.
Pate maintained that going forward, stakeholders involved in the Human Capital Development programme of the President Tinubu administration will reinforce and harness existing data to ensure accountability and accuracy in implementing programmes and projects under the initiative.
He expressed optimism that the renewed efforts at fast-tracking human capital development across different levels and tiers of government would attract interest from all stakeholders, including international partners and donor organisations.
On his part, the Chairman of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, commended the foresight of Vice President Shettima in convening the meeting, noting that it underpins the commitment of President Tinubu’s administration to addressing challenges around human capital development.
While pledging his support for the administration’s HCD programme, Dangote called on stakeholders to work diligently towards tackling the challenge of inaccurate data, describing it as the biggest problem in addressing human capital development.
Likewise, the Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Mr Elumelu, pledged his support for the FG’s initiatives towards Nigeria’s Human Capital Development, saying, “We will support you; our commitment is guaranteed. This is a laudable idea”.
The World Bank Country Director, Nigeria, Mr Chaudhuri, said the institution would support the FG’s HCD programme, especially in the areas of technical assistance and strengthening of databases.
Representatives of other partners, such as the Nigerian Governors’ Forum Secretariat, British High Commission, United Nations Development Programme, UNICEF and JICA, among others, also made remarks.
Monday’s meeting comes five years after the Yemi Osinbajo-led National Economic Council, in March 2018, launched a dedicated Human Capital Development programme, in response to Nigeria’s dismal performance in all global indexes of human capital development.
To drive the programme, NEC had set up a Steering Committee chaired by the Vice President and comprising representatives from the Senate, House of Representatives, and key ministries.
The committee is also represented by the governors of six geopolitical zones and representatives of development agencies.
The programme is guided by a Steering Committee comprising high-level representatives from the government, private sector, and development agencies, which oversees the program’s implementation and ensures alignment with the National HCD Vision.
A Core Working Group (CWG) has also been established to work directly with states to ensure the practical implementation of the HCD programme at the local level.
The CWG comprises representatives from relevant ministries, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, the Organized Private Sector, and donors.