Poor healthcare delivery and increasing unemployment issues topped talks at the Nigeria Governors Forum held to seek solutions to the issues.
At the forum held in Port Harcourt on Friday, experts and governors highlighted several aspects of the Nigerian economy that needed to be overhauled for the sectors to yield more benefits to Nigerians.
The Health sector was top on the list of issues that were discussed, with a former governor of Kwara State, Bukola Saraki, giving an overview of the current state of the health sector at the sub-national level.
Saraki stressed the need for all Nigerians to have access to the health insurance scheme, insisting that such introduction would address the formal and informal sector.
“The National Health Law recently passed by the National Assembly has made this possible. One of the reasons healthcare is not accessible is because of the non-affordability of healthcare,” Saraki, who is also a Senator, said.
He further stressed that it was important that the governors addressed the issue of funding the health sector.
The forum also addressed the issues of youth unemployment in Nigeria.
On unemployment issues and job creation, the governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, stressed the need for proper planning and a diligent implementation of every plan and policies of the government for the needed jobs to be created.
“If we are to have a policy that says ‘Nigerians, consume what you produce,’ we must ensure that we consume only what we produce.
“The promise of the pension scheme was that there will be funds for long term borrowing because the contributors of the funds will not need the money until they are 60. It is expected that the money would provide resources for dual purpose of securing the future income and provision of a mortgage system where interest rate will be in single digit.
“Today total sum of the contribution is in excess of four trillion Naira. But even with such income, a worker in Nigeria cannot walk to his bank and borrow for mortgage purpose.
“We still have deficit in housing and we have huge pension fund. If we choose to inject the pension funds into the housing sector alone, we will create decent jobs because we will employ people to build houses,” he stressed, questioning why the policy is not being implemented as planned.
The Edo State governor stressed the need for planning, insisting that poor planning had led to the increase in the number of the unemployed and unemployable graduates in Nigeria.
He stressed the need for a short and long term plan to ensure that institutions were made ready to employ the graduates coming out of the tertiary institutions, emphasising that with more idle hands available, insurgents would find people to enlist.
The governors also looked at ‘Life After Office’ for governors and the governors were advised to adopt models of change of line of work, in order to remain productive even after leaving office.
Reading the communique at the end of the forum, the chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum and the Governor of Rivers State, Governor Chibuike Amaechi, said that governors would focus more strongly on good governance and service delivery during the remaining period of their terms of office.
The governors also resolved to examine the establishment of an independent office to make objective recommendations on the retirement benefits of governors; leave behind legacy projects that the governors would be proud of and place emphasis on making the primary healthcare more accessible to people by putting in place a system which would make them utilise the health facilities closest to them.
Other resolutions reached are, the need to emphasise preventive healthcare other than curative healthcare and make it a priority to provide primary healthcare to all citizens and the need to provide and support all infrastructure necessary for speedy internet connections, including broadband so that Nigerian youths can participate massively in the wealth to be made from the knowledge based economy.