American billionaire business mogul, Bill Gates, has said that the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, launched by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2017, do not reflect Nigerians’ needs.
Bill Gates and President Buhari
While speaking at the expanded national economic council presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday, Bill Gates, who is now the second richest man in the world, said the execution process of the economic and recovery growth plan (ERGP) of President Muhammadu Buhari does not reflect the needs of Nigerians.
The ERGP is a medium-term document launched by the Buhari administration in 2017 to restore the nation’s economic status after it was hit by its worst recession in 29 years.
Gates who spoke during the event at Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja on Thursday with the theme, “Human Capital Investment in Supporting Pro-poor and Economic Growth Agenda”, said;
“The Nigerian government’s economic recovery and growth plan identify investing in our people as one of three strategic objectives. But the execution priorities don’t fully reflect people’s needs, prioritizing physical capital over human capital.
“To anchor the economy over the long term, investments in infrastructure and competitiveness must go hand in hand with investments in people.
“People without roads, ports, and factories can’t flourish. And roads, ports and factories without skilled workers to build and manage them can’t sustain an economy.”
Gates said though Nigeria has unmatched economic potential, what becomes of such potential depends on the choices made by Nigerian leaders.
“The most important choice you can make is to maximize your greatest resource, the Nigerian people. Nigeria will thrive when every Nigerian is able to thrive.”
He said if the government does not invest in people’s health, education and opportunities, there would be a sharp limit to how the country could grow.
On health, he said Nigeria, “is one of the most dangerous places in the world to give birth, with the fourth worst maternal rate in the world ahead of only Sierra Leone, Central African Republic and Chad. One in three Nigerian children is chronically malnouriahed.
“I believe the Nigerian primary health care system is not adequately funded. But it also doesn’t get the most out of its current funding…More transparency would lead to more accountability which would strengthen governance, leadership and management which would improve quality across the board.
“If you invest in their health, education and opportunities, the human capital we are talking about today then; that will lay the foundation for sustained prosperity.
“If you don’t, however, then it is very important to recognise that there will be a sharp limit on how much the country can grow.”