AMCON canvasses developing Nigeria’s human capital to grow economy
Managing Director/CEO, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, Ahmed Kuru
BY FRANCIS EZEM
Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria AMCON has called on individuals and corporate organisations in the country to support the government, especially now that it is giving more attention to the development of science and technology as a way of growing the nation’s economy from a resource-based economy to knowledge-based economic model.
Managing Director/CEO of the corporation, Ahmed Kuru, who was guest speaker at the 2018 Institute of Directors (IoD) Fellows’ Luncheon, held in Lagos in a paper entitled “Determinants of growth in transition economies” said it was heartwarming to know that the present President Muhammadu Buhari led-government is thinking of diversification, which would ultimately launch Nigeria on the path of economic growth.
According to him, it was a shame that Nigeria has remained where it is today because of some bad decisions of the past, which denied her the desired economic growth, but however expressed optimism that the country with enormous human and natural resources can still make haste and progress from being a third world country to a 2nd and even 1st world country in the not too distant future given the right political, social and economic decisions.
Kuru said, “It is good to know that the government has made science and technology a key part of the National Economic Recovery Growth Plan ERGP, which underscores the need to move Nigeria’s economy away from a resource-based to a knowledge-based model.
“But before Nigeria can leverage this to emerge a strong economy among the comity of nations, there was need to discard the negative vices that the country has cemented in its political and social life and adapt the development templates as well as experiences of other countries around the world that have successfully used such models to change the narratives of their economies. Some of the countries we look up to today as first world countries, decades back, were either worse off than Nigeria or at about the same level with her.
“Broadly speaking, from the experiences of advanced countries including the United States, China, Britain, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea, Singapore to those closer to us like Brazil, Russia, South Africa, what stands as reason or anchors for their progress is simply a commitment to some defined drivers of growth i.e. human capital development, innovation, technology, strong institutions, democracy (freedom of choice) and governance. The two most important determinants are good governance and human capital development.”
While explaining how human capital can play key role in the economic development for Nigeria, the AMCON-boss said countries that have made sustained progress have invested heavily in enhancing the stock of skills of its labor force by prioritizing early childhood quality education, training and provision of health care because investing in human capital raises productivity of workers due to upgraded skills and better education, empowers them with capacity for new ideas and innovations.
The concept of human capital, according to him, is even more important for labour-surplus countries. These countries are naturally endowed with surplus labour due to high birth rate. For example, the surplus labour in China, India, Brazil and Nigeria far outweighs the physical capital such as machinery, plant and equipment, adding that this human resource can be transformed into human capital via education, training, and improved health care delivery.
“Human capital also provides the resources for the development and deepening of other areas of intellectual assets such as research/development, and training. It is interesting to note how China transformed its raw labour into human capital. The population, which was a burden and major cause of China’s underdevelopment in the early stage of its independence, has become a valuable asset since 1980. The truth is, accelerations in technology require countries Nigeria to urgently invest in people if she hopes to compete in the global economy of the future”
“Nigeria needs to tailor her educational system to meet developmental needs of the nation. One of the steps is to change schools’ curricular to one that focuses on developing creativity and skills of students. Young people cannot shape a future befitting them and their nation without being provided with incentives for learning. Fortunately, the current administration has declared an emergency on the educational sector and more funds are being allocated towards education”, he also said.