The Governor of Kwara State, Mr. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq emphasised the significance of prioritising the development of education and healthcare sectors as key drivers of progress and prosperity in the country.
AbdulRazaq, who also serves as the chairman of Nigeria’s Governors Forum, made these remarks during the BudgIT 2023 ‘State of States’ report launch under the theme “Subnational Healthcare Delivery for Improved Economic Development”.
The State of States report is an annual comparative assessment of the fiscal performance and position of the 36 states in Nigeria. This initiative, initiated in 2017, provides insights into how states can finance their budgets through internal revenue generation, their investments in human capital development, and the sustainability of their borrowing activities.
AbdulRazaq expressed his vision to transform the state’s educational system and healthcare services. He urged governors across Nigeria to drive positive changes in their states by focusing on these critical sectors. He believed that prioritising education and healthcare would lead to significant advancements and an improved quality of life for the citizens of Kwara State.
He shared examples of innovative approaches taken by states like Lagos, Kaduna and Edo, which have successfully improved their education systems. Lagos State, for instance, implemented the use of digital devices in classrooms, equipping every classroom with tablets to empower teachers with effective teaching tools. These tablets not only provide access to a comprehensive curriculum but also facilitate the tracking and monitoring of student attendance and performance. This data-driven approach allows for the identification and addressing of issues like student absenteeism and malnutrition.
Kaduna State took decisive action by holding underperforming teachers accountable and hiring qualified educators. Lagos and Edo states collaborated with a company called New Globe to provide tablets to every teacher, enhancing the teaching process.
AbdulRazaq noted that the impact of these measures has been profound, leading to improvements in student outcomes and the restoration of the relationship with the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC). Previously blacklisted by UBEC due to irregularities in school operations, the state has regained access to funding and support for its education programs.
Senior health specialist at the World Bank Group, Dr. Olumide Okunola highlighted the challenges faced by Nigeria in healthcare due to insufficient revenue generation, affecting the country’s ability to achieve positive health outcomes. He stressed the need to connect the allocation of funds to actual outcomes and achievements.
The 2023 ‘State of States’ report revealed rankings based on five metrics, including the ability to cover operating expenses with internally generated revenue, year-on-year IGR growth, the ability to cover expenses and loan repayments with total revenue, debt sustainability and capital expenditure prioritisation.
Anambra State entered the top fiscal performance rankings, while Rivers retained the top spot. Lagos and Kaduna were the only states generating enough IGR to cover expenses, while others relied heavily on federal transfers. Efforts are needed to reduce under-5 mortality rates across various states before the 2030 deadline. AbdulRazaq’s commitment to education and healthcare bodes well for Kwara State’s future.