World Bank

Nigeria, yesterday, received another damning assessment from the World Bank Group on its education, health policies and development, describing them as very poor.

The development now affirms the long-standing argument about dearth of skills among the country's human capital, huge medical tourism that had eaten deep into external reserves and high dependence on aids and donors to fund health-related projects.

Noting the poor budget allocations to both sectors against the 20 per cent by Indonesia, and the woeful outcome with concomitant effects on the goal of raising adequate human capital, the bank said it was a big disappointment for the rest of sub-Saharan Africa.

The group’s president, Jim Yong Kim, gave the verdict while unveiling the 2018 Human Capital Index at the ongoing yearly meetings with International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Nusa Dua, Indonesia.He decried the country's "poor show" with huge out-of-school children (about 13.5 million) and the 152nd position among 157 countries in the index, stating that the situation was not only a setback for Nigeria, but also disappointing for the region that looks up to it.

"Human capital is a key driver of sustainable, inclusive economic growth, but investing in health and education has not gotten the attention it deserves. This index creates a direct line between improving outcomes in health and education, productivity, and economic growth,” Kim said.

According to him, a quarter of the world’s young people are unlikely to achieve their full potential because of chronic malnutrition and illness that result in stunting, which permanently affects a child’s cognitive development, school performance, and future income.

The World Bank chief added that the index gives policymakers compelling evidence that delivering better outcomes in children’s health and learning can significantly boost the incomes of their people – and shape the direction for their countries – far into the future.

Meanwhile, the Managing Director of IMF, Christine Lagarde, has said effective structural reforms must include making sure that the refineries and oil installations in Nigeria work well for the benefit of the citizens.Briefing journalists at the meetings, she said her honest recommendations to the nation’s Minister of Finance would be for her to start with an eye on the monetary policy and higher non-oil revenue mobilisation.

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