ABUJA—The United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, said in its report yesterday that Nigeria’s Human Development Index, HDI, increased by 13.1 per cent between 2005 and 2015.
The UNDP Resident Representative, Mr Edward Kallon, who stated this in Abuja at the launch of UNDP Human Development Report, HDR, 2016, said the achievement was before the recession.
HDI is a composite statistic of life expectancy, education, and per capita income indicators, which are used to rank countries into four tiers of human development.
Kallon, who expressed satisfaction with the feat recorded by the nation within the spate of 10 years, called for an urgent action by the government to sustain the gain.
“The report shows that between 2005 and 2015, Nigeria’s HDI increased from 0.466 to 0.527 – a 13.1 percent increase.
“This is encouraging, but given the humanitarian challenges already alluded to, and the economic recession witnessed in 2016, there is an urgent need to design policies and programmes to ensure that the upward trend in human development is not reversed. As the 2014, HDR aptly noted success is not automatic and gains are not necessarily permanent,” he said.
He noted that the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, recently launched by the Federal Government outlined several medium-term policies and programmes that could keep Nigeria on a positive development trajectory.
He said the ERGP focused on restoring growth, investing in people and building a globally competitive economy.
Kallon pledged the UNDP’s commitment to supporting both the federal and state governments in implementing programmes addressing the simultaneous eradication of poverty and significant reduction of inequalities and exclusion in Nigeria.
He described UNDP as the UN’s lead agency with a mandate to eradicate poverty, and promote sustainable human development everywhere in Nigeria.
According to him, UNDP has produced several National HDRs focusing on issues defining development in Africa’s largest economy.
He said the reports would continue to shape policy interventions and public debate around many development issues affecting millions of people in the country.
“The economic growth is necessary but not sufficient condition for human development; it is possible to achieve high levels of human development even with modest levels of growth.
“What matters is the source and spread of growth; and how growth is managed and distributed for the benefit of everyone,” he said.He said that addressing the twin problems of economic recession and humanitarian crisis facing the country called for tough policy choices.
“We should utilise the opportunity provided by the national launch of this report to promote policy dialogue, at both national and sub-national levels.“To enrich programmes aimed at implementing the ERGP and Growth Plan, the SDGs and AU’s Agenda 2063 to ensure that human development is realised for everyone and that no one is left behind,” he said.
Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, in her remarks, said the launch of the report was timely, adding that provided an independent and data-based analysis of why certain groups tended to be more disadvantaged and highlighted persistent barriers to achieving sustainable human development for all.
She said it also came on the heels of the recently launched NERGP which, she added, would define the country’s economic trajectory for the next four years by ensuring sustained, inclusive and diversified growth.
“The report comes as Nigeria works to actively implement programmes aimed at meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, both at the federal and state levels,” she said.
The minister said government was working proactively to address the current economic challenges facing the nation, and to implement policies and programmes that promote human development.
According to her, the programmes will ensure that no one was left behind.
“We will also strive to ensure that the disadvantaged communities receive the extra support they need. This includes those living in conflict affected areas, women and girls, and rural communities.
“Government is striving to ensure that human development progress is more resilient to shocks, such as epidemics, economic challenges, conflicts.
‘’This is being done through the development and implementation of sound policies and through social investment programmes,” she said.