By Oluwatope Lawanson
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, says investing in human capital development is one of the smartest investments a country can make to break the cycle of poverty, address inequality and boost productivity of labour.
Sanwo-Olu made the remark at the South-West Human Capital Development (HCD) Regional Conference, with theme, “From Plan to Action: Push for HCD”, held in Lagos on Thursday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the conference had in attendance stakeholders from across the six south-western states.
Sanwo-Olu, represented by his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, said with such vision, government had an ineluctable responsibility to organise actions that would improve socio-economic development of the nation.
The governor said that the profound shift in global economy created a sense of urgency for government to prepare the people for the emerging and complex future.
He added that it was imperative to invest in people by ensuring that they accumulate the knowledge and skills they needed to compete in a new world.
“As innovation continues to accelerate, it will be harder to catch up with the space of development being witnessed in developed world.
“If we fail to act decisively now, our economies will fail further behind if we are not committed to meeting targets of HCD.
“We have no time to lose as leaders; we must urgently invest in our people,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu assured that the state government was committed to ensuring that every child, man and woman in Lagos is not left behind.
He stated that the people had the opportunity to live a full and productive life noting that his administration made it clear from inception that no segment of the society would be left behind.
“Our administration has initiated laws, policies and institutions including the passage of a Lagos Social Protection Policy which defines interventions.
“It targets the poor and vulnerable including children, women, persons with disability and the elderly which is carried out across our various ministries and agencies.
“This includes ensuring that the budgets are reflective of the aspirations,” he said.
The governor, therefore, urged the other southwest governors to consistently encourage the private sector and civil society to support their efforts in achieving sustainable HCD across the three thematic areas.
The areas, according to him are Education, Health and Nutrition as well as Labour Force.
Earlier, in her welcome address, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Sustainable Developmental Goals and Investment, Mrs Solape Hammond, said the essence of the conference was the common goal of improving opportunities for all people to live well, be well and productively engaged in the country.
Hammond noted that the state government had given priority to alignment of policies and initiatives backed by tangible budget spent on critical human development areas.
According to her, interventions and efforts put in place by government are yielding results as Lagos remains consistent among the highest-performing states in local and international assessments of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.