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Group calls for more investment in human capital development

Published by The Nation on Mon, 22 Feb 2021

By Moses Emorinken, AbujaThe Human Capital Development Network (HCDN) has called on the Federal Government and other critical stakeholders to invest more in the human capital development (HCD) of the country. This will help to accelerate the pace of sustainable national development.The HCDN, which is a coalition of development partners, civil society organisations and media, noted that HCD has implications in many areas including economic growth, productivity of labour, poverty reduction, security, demographic dividend, etc. Advancing HCD requires investing in people through nutrition, healthcare, quality education, jobs and skills, it stressed. The Human Capital Index (HCI) of Nigeria is currently 0.36; ranking the country 152 out of 157 countries, according to the assessment by the World Bank in 2020. Addressing journalists in Abuja after a one-day media parley organised by the HCDN, in collaboration with the Lafiya Programme, Dr. Gafar Alawode said human capital development should be pursued vigorously because it holds the master to achieving the countrys national development aspirations. HCD is a policy objective that must be pursued with all energy as it has implications for our collective well-being in many areas including but not limited to economic growth, productivity of labour, poverty reduction, security, demographic dividend inter alia. Nigerias performance on human capital development index is abysmal as the country was rated 152 out of 157 in 2018 with HCI score of 0.34 (out of 1) despite its vast natural resources. Human Capital Index is a measure of how much human capital can a child born today expect to acquire by age 18, given the risks to poor health and poor education that prevail in the country where she lives.Two years after, in another assessment by the World Bank, under the human capital development project, the country recorded HCI score of 0.36 points in 2020 indicating a 0.02 point improvement in its human capital index. HCI score of 0.36 means that a child born in Nigeria today will be 36 percent as productive compared to if they enjoyed complete education and full health.Furthermore, only 88 children out of 100 born in Nigeria survive up to five years. A child who starts school at age four years only completes 10.2 years of school at age 18 years, while expected years of school is only 5 years based on what children actually learn. Highly concerned by the foregoing, the human capital development network (HCDN), a network of development partners, Civil Society Organisations, and media with membership drawn from the 36 States and the FCT was established to advance the course of HCD in Nigeria through advocacy and accountability.It therefore, called on the government, through the Human Capital Development core Working Group under the National Economic Council, to fast-track the process of engagement with tiers of government to further engender HCD as a development policy objective. We need to increase investments across the health and education sectors evidenced by timely release of budget, cash backing of appropriated sums, and effective utilisation of such funds. We must also ensure greater transparency and accountability social investment, especially for health and education expenditures, and foster citizen participation in the design, implementation and evaluation of HCD-related interventions to enhance ownership of such interventions at the grassroots.The Nigeria Governors Forum needs to ensure that state governors include HCD on their priority agenda, follow up on implementation, and encourage knowledge sharing amongst the governors. Finally, religious and traditional leaders need to support with awareness creation and encourage their subjects and followers to support the HCD vision, he said.
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