Mbah: Creative Approach To Governance Will Boost Economic Development

Mbah: Creative Approach To Governance Will Boost Economic Development

According to Peter Mbah, the Governor of Enugu State, only radical thinking and a creative approach to governance could stimulate rapid economic development in Nigeria.  Nigeria needs a creative approach and a new way of thinking to boost economic development.

Mbah said this became necessary given the nation’s brand of presidential federalism which excessively vests the nation’s revenues in the centre, thereby hindering bold social and economic development.

A statement by Mbah’s media office on Friday said the governor stated this while delivering a lecture entitled “Enugu State, Nigeria: New Political Leadership; Bold Economic Vision – Spotlight on the Health and Education Strategies” during a public lecture at the London School of Economics, on Thursday.

Mbah, according to the statement, maintained that the difficult times in Nigeria required bold and unusual solutions that come from thinking outside the box.

“The single boldest projection that encapsulates what we intend to accomplish is our target to grow the economy of Enugu State seven-fold. Simply put, our vision is to grow the state’s GDP from $4.4bn – that we met – to at least $30bn in the next four to eight years. Another bold plan is the commitment to attain a zero percent poverty headcount index in Enugu State.”

He, however, observed that realising the set targets would depend greatly on the wellness of the state’s workforce, hence his government’s numerous health projects and innovations, which he said were already yielding results.

“We are seeing a decline, albeit marginal, in infant and maternal mortality rate in our states. We are constantly eliminating factors that ordinarily cause maternal and under-5 deaths, such as the absence of skilled birth attendants – including doctors, nurses and midwives – at health facilities. From a pre-election statistic of 39 percent, we have grown the number of births attended by skilled health personnel at our facilities to 42 percent. Our target is to achieve a 100 percent threshold by the end of 2025.

“In addition, we have significantly expanded immunisation coverage for all childhood vaccine-preventable diseases for children on their first birthday. We have also increased the number of those attending Ante-Natal Care for the first time.

We’re also building new Level 2 healthcare facilities across the 260 electoral wards in our state. Each centre has the necessary equipment, sanitation and hygiene facilities, water, living quarters for doctors and nurses, and an alternative power supply.

“Where there is a shortfall, especially with regard to doctors and nurses who have been emigrating to the West in large numbers, we carry out regular recruitment drives to narrow the deficit. The goal is to bring the number of doctors in our state to the WHO recommended doctor-to-patient ratio of one doctor to 600 patients,” the governor said.

He added that no nation has ever risen above the inherent capacity of its public education, hence his administration’s huge investment in an education that emphasises access, relevance, and quality to power the turnaround.

“Our government’s allocation for education in this year’s budget illustrates this resolve. Our state’s budget of N158.78bn for education is the highest per capita in the country. With regard to the percentage of the total budget assigned to education, it is also the highest budget for education by any state in Nigeria, at 33 percent of the entire budget sum. It is also substantially higher than UNESCO’s recommended benchmark of 15 percent – 20 percent of the total annual budget. I dare say it’s perhaps the highest in the world. Think about it: This implies that for every 100 Naira spent, 33 Naira goes to the education budget.

“From age three, we ensure a child is enrolled in a system that imbues them with the requisite skills to compete in tomorrow’s world today. Today, children should be able to practicalize what they have learnt. This is a core philosophy of our Smart Schools initiative.

“So, our Smart Green Schools initiative is a bold and creative response to the learning crisis that confronted us on assuming office. That is because we have created sufficient incentives for parents to send their children to school, not least of which is our Free School Meal Plus programme for pupils, which incorporates a medical programme, through which vital health statistics of students such as growth profile, sundry deficiencies and vaccine status are monitored.

“Each Smart School features an interactive digital whiteboard, an internet system, robotics and artificial intelligence centre, modern ICT centre, two science laboratories, hybrid multimedia library, creative production studio, 25 inclusive classrooms and 700 Android tablets. Through these, we expect to impart experiential knowledge and bridge the skills gap that leaves our students with grim prospects in a globalized world.”

Nigeria’s economic challenges have led to a persistent rise in living costs, prompting residents in certain states to organise protests to voice their grievances.