Vice-President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has responded to comments made by the Co-Founder of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates, challenging the Nigerian Government to invest more in human development and that the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan ERGP of the government does not reflect people’s needs.
Responding, Osinbajo said investing in people was a primary aspect of the current administration’s Economic Recovery Growth Plan.
He noted the government was aware that people were critical to driving the economy which was why the administration is currently doing everything possible to improve the basic infrastructural elements that enhance proper human life.
In his words:
“It is this realisation that has helped us to ensure that one of the primary planks of our economic recovery and growth plan is ‘investing in people’; and it is for this reason that we are expanding the reach and quality of our healthcare through the National Health Insurance Scheme and working to guarantee basic education for all persons whilst also upgrading and modernising the quality of secondary and post-secondary education.”
The Kaduna state governor Mallam Nasir El-Rufai also faulted Gates comments describing the claim by Gates as “incorrect”. El-Rufai noted that the ERGP has enough provision for human capital, it is a Federal Government’s plan.
He, however, appealed to the state governments to come up with similar plans as well as adequate provisions for healthcare and education because the bulk of the burden for healthcare and education really rests on states governments.
Recall that the Gates at the expanded session of the National Executive Council Meeting in Abuja picked holes in the economic recovery plans of the government. Gates who declared that Nigeria is one of the most dangerous places to give birth in the world noting that the country has the fourth mortality rate in the world after Sierra-Leone, Central African Republic, and Chad.
He, however, advised the Nigerian government to invest more in social infrastructure to improve the standard living of its people.
In his words:
“If you invest in their health, education, and opportunities – the “human capital” we are talking about today – then they will lay the foundation for sustained prosperity. If you don’t, however, then it is very important to recognize that there will be a sharp limit on how much the country can grow.”