Nigeria needs to train 7.7m people in 5 years to operate infrastructure – Expert

Dr Kabir Usman, Director-General, Centre for Management Development, says Nigeria needs to train 7.7 million people in the next five years to operate required infrastructure in the country.Usman said this in a document “ Human Capital: A Prerequisite for National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan (NIIMP)’’, obtained on Monday in Abuja.

The NIIMP focused on developing the transportation, energy, Information Communication Technology (ICT), agriculture, water, mining, housing, social infrastructure, vital registration and security sectors.

He said that the training should be across all works of life – professional and tradesmen – like doctors, nurse, policemen and farmers.

The director general said bridging the capacity and resources gap was crucial for the success of achieving the objectives of NIIMP.

“There are currently 35 per cent fewer power technicians/engineers and by 2020 the number required will double.

“About 600,000 additional construction workers needed over the next five years to build and maintain the current and new infrastructure.

“Training for jobs like site workers, plumbers and engineers needed,’’ he said.

He, however, said that the role of infrastructure and human capital development was a key to attracting foreign direct investment.

According to him, focusing on human development is the only way forward to achieve the objectives of implementing NIIMP.

Usman said that multinational tended to look at the political stability before they could invest and we have to make sure we have prerequisite number of people to deliver the required infrastructure.

“There are so many essential requirements for Nigeria infrastructure in terms of education, knowledge and skills.

“Increased investment in infrastructure in key sectors of the economy is needed and if you increase it by one per cent, you will increase the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by one per cent.

“But if you look at increase in terms of human capital, when you increase human capital by one per cent, you will increase the GDP by nine per cent,’’ he said.

The director-general said that the reason for the contribution of human capital to GDP was very clear and obvious.

He said that with human capital, there would be innovation and creativity and that will increase the GDP.

“The availability of infrastructure for human capital is more important to our growth than Foreign Direct Investment as adduced by endogenous growth model proponents.

“If you have the money to invest and you have not invested in human capital, how on earth are you going to deliver your target?

Usman said that it was important to know that priority for supporting future growth would be based on meeting needs for major expansion of the investment in infrastructure.

He said establishing a stable macroeconomics environment with improved coordination between monetary and fiscal policy would support future growth in infrastructure.

“What we are saying is that the human capital element will give you an opportunity for monetary policies that will interact with the fiscal policies.

“It will help reduce heavy dependence on oil revenue and also expenditures and diversify your economic policies and look at the areas of agriculture, mining and power etc.

“So, increasing investment in building human capacities and skills in the labour force is prerequisite and a must for any nation,’’ Usman said.

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