Former World’s richest man and Philanthropist, William Gates III(Bill Gates) shocked the Presidency on Thursday at the National Economic Council meeting when he said that the economic templates being used by President Muhammadu Buhari do not have the ability to address the unique needs of Nigerians at the moment.
The American business magnate pointed out that Nigeria had the ability to approach ‘upper middle-income status’ like Brazil, China and Mexico, but added that achieving this status depends on ”the choice Nigerian leaders make”.
Mr. Gates tasked Nigerian leaders to sincerely invest in not just infrastructural development but also human investment.
The theme of the meeting was “Role of human capital investment in supporting pro-poor and economic growth agenda”.The investor said though Nigeria is rapidly approaching upper-middle-income status, the country has ”unmatched economic potential and what becomes of that potential depends on the choice Nigerian leaders makes”.
He said the Nigerian government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) identifies “investing in our people” as one of three “strategic objectives”.
But the “execution priorities” do not fully reflect people’s needs, ”prioritising physical capital over human capital”, he said.
“To anchor the economy over the long term, investments in infrastructure and competitiveness must go hand in hand with investment 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,” he said.
President Muhammadu Buhari on assumption of office had unveiled a four-year ERGP (2017-2020) to help propel the country towards the path of development and growth.