President Mohammadu Buhari has expressed concern for over exponential growth rate of Nigeria population and declared that the growth and size of Nigeria will be more of a burden than an asset, unless there is an appropriate and commensurate growth in the economy to take care of the growing population.
The president who was represented by the Acting Head of Service of the Federation Dr. (Mrs.) Yemi Esan made the declaration on Monday on the occasion of the inauguration of Senior Executive Course No 42 of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) Kuru, Plateau State with the theme: “Population Growth and Human Capital Development: Challenges and Opportunities”
He pointed out that estimated population of Nigeria by 2050 will be about 543 million adding that his administration is determined to fashion out appropriate policy response to the challenges inherent in rapid population growth without corresponding expansion in socioeconomic and physical infrastructure to bring about appropriate equilibrium.
” As you are aware, one of the cardinal objectives of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), a fundamental policy thrust of this Administration, is investing in the Nigerian people. This is consistent with the demand for human capital development to redirect the population growth from a negative path to a positive path. Human capital development involves creating the necessary environment for Nigerians, especially the youthful component, to acquire relevant knowledge, skills and competences that can help grow a healthy, productive and progressive Nigerian society”.
President Buhari added that his administration was strongly committed to ensuring that the exponential population growth rate of Nigeria does not have a negative impact on the Nigerian society adding that such negative outcomes, such as unemployment, underemployment, growing crime rate etc could be kept within tolerable limit with evidence-based planning.
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“It is my Administration’s desire to design an appropriate policy response through this year’s Study Report on Population Growth and Human Capital Development, to ensure that we do not have such a wide gap between the two variables. Thus, I consider the theme for 2020 very apt, timely and critical because of the need to ensure that the primary purpose of governance, as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) which is the provision of security and wellbeing of citizens, is guaranteed through close monitoring and control of population growth for optimum human capital development.
“It is globally recognised that failure to develop human capital will lead to an inability to compete economically and widen the socioeconomic gap between the minority haves and the majority haves-not that could bring about severe social dislocation with all the catastrophic consequences for the society, including undermining the foundation of civil society and our democratic order.
” Human capital development, all over the world, brings about high life expectancy and an efficient and productive workforce, which are critical success factors in the enterprise of building a vibrant, productive and resilient national economy.
He enjoined the participants to research carefully into this theme in order to proffer policy options that will enable Government fashion out appropriate responses to the challenge of rapid population growth and slow pace of human capital development.
The President tasked them to provide solutions to such issues as the existing gaps in the institutional, legal and policy frameworks for human capital development and how these frameworks can be strengthened to make them more responsive to the challenges of population growth.
In his address, Director General of the Institute Professor Habu Galadima who said 77 participants will take part in the 10 months rigorous exercise which will lead to the award of prestigious Mni congratulated the participants for scaling the rigorous nomination and screening process leading to Mr President’s approval of their participation on the course.
He said the course also has a field component, which sees participants engage in various study tour within Nigeria, Africa and outside the continent adding that the state and countries of visit within and outside Nigeria are determined on the basis of the theme of the course.
Professor Galadima expressed gratitude to President Buhari for the early and expeditious consideration of the theme for SEC 42 as well as the timely approval of the list of nominees of the course.