Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
The Federal Government has projected that Nigeria’s population would hit 411 million by 2050 with 65 per cent of the population under the age of 35.
Speaking at the 23th Conference of Intergovernmental Committee of Senior Officials and Experts for West Africa, in Abuja, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clem Ikanade Agba, expressed concern over population explosion, saying that all efforts should be geared towards creating jobs for the huge population.
“The high population growth rate is, therefore, a matter of concern as there is need to cater for the rising population by stimulating the economy that engenders growth and creates jobs. To achieve this, we need to create economic activities that open up productive sectors and take full advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement,” he said.
To this end, he called on the sub-region to develop and deploy human capital, as well as improve infrastructure stock for higher productivity and competitiveness.
“It now behoves on you, the experts, to identify critical enablers that will move the sub-region forward. There is therefore, the need to develop and deploy human capital, as well as improve our infrastructure stock for higher productivity and competitiveness. Economic prosperity depends on the productivity in which our human and natural resources are employed. In this regard, the sub-region needs to, among others, put in place “a modern well-regulated financial sector that turns savings into productive investments; Invest in research, development, innovation and technology; invest in hard and soft infrastructure as well as sustained encouragement of entrepreneurship and innovation; develop value chains in agriculture and processing of natural resources ; identify and focus on specific industries for job creation”, he advised.
Agba warned that there could not be any meaningful development unless there was inclusive growth and development in the subregion.
“Please permit me to say at this point, that there cannot be any meaningful and successful transformational development in our sub-region unless there is inclusive growth and development. Indeed, lack of inclusive growth and inequality lead to social upheavals. It is against this backdrop that the Federal Government of Nigeria has since 2009 kept faith with the development and implementation of her national development plans,” he said.