The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, has disclosed that 23 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have received N24,450,000,000.00 from the Conditional Grant Schemes.
The SSA on SDGs, who was the guest of the Ministerial Media Briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday, explained that the funds are incentive to states to invest more of their resources into areas of national development priorities and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)/Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
She explained that the fund, which has been disbursed since 2015, was established in 2007 with a 50per cent matching grant from the Federal Government and a 50per cent matching grant from the participating states.
She added that the grants were targeted at education, health, water and sanitation projects “and aimed at executing pro-poor projects in a consultative manner with the beneficiaries.”
Orelope-Adefulire stressed that the money was spent on the implementation of 732 water and sanitation facilities; 494 health facilities (new facilities and renovation/rehabilitation); 616 education facilities (new construction, renovation/rehabilitation of block of classrooms; 1,150 women and men were empowered/trained in vocational skills, such as sewing, knitting, detergent & pomade making etc).
The SDGs chief stated that special intervention projects were being implemented across the geopolitical zones, an initiative she stated was aimed at strategic investment to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs in Nigeria.
She explained that: “Between 2016 and 2021, a record number of projects have been implemented, aimed at providing essential services to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs, by ensuring no Nigerian is left behind.
“In the education sector, 8,008 classrooms were constructed and 305 renovated with furnishing to strengthen basic education across the country.
“A total of 4,845 Desktop and Laptop Computers have also been supplied to schools across the country for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) training.
“In the health sector, 195 Health Centres, comprising Primary Healthcare Centres (PHC) and Mother and Child Centres (MCC) were constructed, complemented with the supply of 199 Intensive Care and Rural ambulances. About 257 incubators and 7,464 regular and automated hospital beds were supplied across tour health facilities.
“In other cross-cutting sectors, OSSAP-SDGs constructed 66 Vocational and Skills Acquisition Centres; supplied 1,294 transformers; provision of 19,266 solar-powered streetlights; 300 Housing units for internally displaced persons (IDP) in Borno State; and 925 Solar Boreholes, in addition to several other interventions.”
Orelope-Adefulire also discussed some findings from Nigeria’s 2nd Voluntary National Review (VNR) 2020 on SDG-3, indicating that while the country faces challenges in health outcomes, such as high rates of maternal mortality, there has been a significant reduction in under-five mortality rates (from 157 to 132).
According to her, the review highlighted the need for more investment in public health and to ensure the most vulnerable are reached through universal access to basic healthcare services.
The SDGs boss also explains that: “On SDG-4, a key challenge confronting the country has to do with Out-of- School-Children, a demographic challenge that relates to an interplay between employment (SDG-8), education (SDG-4), poverty (SDG-1) and the digital economy (SDG-17). With a population of approximately 200million people, regional disparities are significant.
“On SDG-8, Nigeria’s informal economy is one of the largest on the continent – estimated at 53percent of the labour force and accounting for 65percent of GDP. It is estimated that 75percent of all new jobs are informal. Ensuring youth are well-trained and able to transition to productive employment through the digital economy can help reduce poverty and help diversify growth away from oil and gas.
“In addition, the Nigerian government can dramatically shift to digitization and strengthen its transition to e-government to facilitate its social protection to the poor and vulnerable population.”
In response to SDG 1: Ending Poverty in All Its Forms, Reducing Poverty, and Sharing Prosperity, she stated that the federal government maintained consistent investment in health, education, and other social services between 2015 and 2018, saying “because investments in these areas are essential and integral to addressing poverty.
“With about 10.8million out-of-school children and more people drifting into poverty, Nigeria’s expenditure on education just about 8.6per cent in 2015 and witnessed a steady decline to 8.2, 8.5 and 8.2per cent in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
“This was largely due to the 2016 economic recession and the decline in global oil prices and COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.
On Goal 2 of Zero Hunger, the Orelope-Adefulire stated: “Findings from the baseline showed that the prevalence of undernourishment in 2016 for stunting, moderate stunting and severe stunting were 32.9per cent, 20.4per cent and 12.5per cent, respectively, while in 2019 the report indicated 32per cent stunting, and 21.2 and 10.8per cent for moderate and severe stunting, respectively.
“Thus, we had a modest decrease in severe stunting.”
On Goal 3, which is Ensure Healthy Lives and Promote Well-Being for all at all ages, she said the summary of the baseline indicated that the rate of under-five mortality rate (meaning that for any child born in a specified year to survive before reaching the age of 5) per 1,000 live births in 2016 was 128/1,000 live births but had reduced significantly to 100 in both 2018 and 2019.
“However, the population of Nigerians covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) for a better quality of life via the removal of financial barriers increased from 634,154 for males and 266, 618 for females in 2016 to about 781,057 for males and 332,742 for females – an increase of about 26per cent national coverage,” she stated.
For Goal 4, she affirmed that the participation rate of youth and adults in formal and non-formal education and training in the previous 12 months increased from 4.97per cent in 2016 to 5.38 in both 2017 and 2018 while for Goal 8, Nigeria faced economic challenges, which was a fall out of global oil price crash and insufficient foreign exchange earnings to achieve balance of trade.
Notwithstanding, Orelope-Adefulire, said, this was increased from -1.6per cent in 2016 to 0.82per cent in 2017 with an annual per capita at -17.31per cent and was subsequently increased to 1.91per cent in 2018 and 2.27per cent in 2019 with its per capita GDP growth of 1.22per cent in 2019.
On reducing inequality within and among countries under Goal 10, she pointed out that in 2016, the labour share of GDP was 25.17per cent, and witnessed a steady increase to 26.06per cent and 26.61per cent in 2017 & 2019.
“With the successful realignment of the National Statistical System (NSS) with the indicators of the SDGs in December 2021, going forward, we will be able to track and report on the SDGs on annual basis – every December through the National Bureau of Statistics. Nigeria is now the first country in Africa to have successfully re-aligned its National Statistical System,” she declared.
According to the SDGs boss, “The Nigerian government has demonstrated strong commitment towards the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and the SDGs. Institutional Frameworks have been established at the national and sub-national levels to support the effective implementation of the SDGs. Thus, Nigeria is leading in the institutionalisation of the SDGs.
“The SDGs cannot be achieved with stand-alone programmes and projects. They must be carefully integrated into national and sub-national policies and development plans. Currently, we have integrated the SDGs into Nigeria’s National Development Plan (2021-2025) and we presently supporting 16 states to develop SDG-Based Development Plans.
“It is our hope that all 36 states and the FCT will eventually develop SDG-Compliant-Development Plans. This is our approach to Mainstreaming, Acceleration and Policy Support (MAPS).
“Robust Monitoring and Tracking Systems have been designed to ensure effective tracking of interventions using computer-assisted software. We are committed to conducting Voluntary National Reviews every two years for presentation to the United Nations High-Level Political Forum (HLPF).
“To ‘Leave no one behind’, we need the expertise and resources of all – public and private sectors; UN Development System; donor community; academia and the wider Civil Society and concerned citizens.”
Place More Value On Children, Group Urges Govt, Stakeholders
A non profit organisation, CVG-AFrica, has urged the three tiers of government and other stakeholders in the education sector to place more value on children through qualitative education, infrastructure and development of teachers’ capacity.
Its Coordinator, Mr Moses Solanke, made the plea on Monday at a seminar organised for teachers of St Leo’s Primary School, Ibadan, with the theme: “Sustaining a Valuable Primary Education: The Teachers’ Role”.
Solanke said the group’s aim was to reach out to those in the primary schools in order to encourage them because of the challenges inhibiting teaching in schools.
“We see that many teachers are no longer committed and dedicated to their works and this rubs off on the children.
“CVG-Africa is an outreach focusing on children’s education, but that cannot be without focusing on the teachers.
“So, the seminar is to help them to rediscover their roles and boost their commitments in a hostile environment.
“Schools are not funded, the structures are bad; you expected so much from the teachers, but once in a while we need to encourage and charge them to revive their commitment to work,” he said.
The group coordinator said that there was a need to value children to develop African continent.
“You can only place value on the children through qualitative education.
“CVG-Africa is asking the government, schools and other stakeholders in the education sector to place more commitment and value on children for a better society and continent,” he said.
In a lecture on the theme of the event, the Coordinator, Students and Youths Discipleship Outreach (SAYDO), Mr Elijah Olatunji, said, “No nation can be greater than her teachers; and there is no generation that can be different from what its teachers are.”
Olatunji enjoined teachers to see their roles as a calling and pour themselves into it with dedication and commitment to make a positive impact in the lives of their students.
According to him, it is hard to imagine what the world would look like without teachers.
“Teachers at all levels are indispensable in the society; from the nursery and primary school level to tertiary level; even in the vocational apprenticeship area,” he said.
Olatunji described teachers as the most powerful influencers, saying that teachers’ roles are crucial to bring about a change and development in any society.
“Teaching profession is not just a job; it is a calling and also a passion; a calling to affect lives; a passion to mould lives, to bend and straighten lives at the prime of their years. It is a calling as a foundation layer and builder,” he said.
The outreach coordinator advocated teaching methodology that would address the peculiarities of every child and the one that discovers and enhances their potential, saying, “no child is a dullard” .
Menstrual Hygiene: HILWA, UNICEF Train 200 Principals, Teachers
A group, the High Level Women Advocate (HILWA), in collaboration with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has begun training of 200 female principals, Head teachers and teachers in Katsina State on menstrual hygiene management.
The HILWA Chairperson, Hajiya Mariya Abdullahi, said during the opening of the three-day training on Sunday in Katsina, that the selection of the topic ‘`Menstrual Hygiene” was necessary.
She explained that the topic was purposely selected because of its sensitivity and importance especially to the girl child.
“We selected these principals and teachers for the training, because the girls are directly under their watch.
“Therefore, it is very important to train them so that they can also teach the girl child.
“This menstrual hygiene is important for the girl child to learn right from their childhood.
“Most girls find themselves in this situation without being prepared for it.
“So, we are preparing them in the event they see anything like this happening to them, they should not take it as a surprise”, she said.
She said that though parents ought to teach their daughters about menstraution, but that if they howver failed to do so in their homes, the girls should be taught in school.
Mariya said that the group had the Girl’s Education Project (GEP-3) benefiting schools in the state to assess the level of successes so far recorded.
Also speaking, the HILWA Secretary, Hajiya Wasila Sani-Saulawa, said the training was targeting all principals of girls secondary schools in the state.
She added that the project was funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and implemented by UNICEF in collaboration with the Federal and state governments.
According to Sani-Saulawa, the training for the principals is also funded from the GEP-3 funding in Katsina State.
Sani-Saulawa said that 100 participants were drawn from the Katsina zone, while 50 each from Funtua and Daura zones would also benefit.
She explained that at the end of the training, the participants would not only step it down to their girl students, but also their children, family members and their community members.
According her, HILWA, since inception has been involved with the girl child education in Katsina state because the state is among the states with low number of girls in schools.
ACRESAL Critical To Lifting 100m Nigerians From Poverty-FG
The Federal Government says the Agro-Climatic Resilience in Semi-Arid Landscapes (ACRESAL) project is critical to lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.
The Honourable Minister for Environment, Mr Mohammed Abdullahi, said this at the ACRESAL technical workshop in Lagos.
The Tide’s source reports that the workshop is organised for the Ministries of Environment, Agriculture and Water Resources in conjunction with the World Bank.
“The ACRESAL Project is one of the central components in President Muhammadu Buhari’s strategy of ensuring environmental sustainability.
“And improving community livelihoods toward lifting 100 million people out of poverty,” Abdullahi said.
He said that his passion for the ACRESAL project exposed him to further understand the environment portfolio and its link with the broader society.
“I am also very passionate about ACRESAL. It is the first project that heralds my assumption of duties when Mr President redeployed me to the Federal Ministry of Environment.
“I saw the political will and desire of the three ministries in ensuring that targets are meant,” Abdullahi said.
According to him, ACRESAL is all about sustainable land management.
He said the ministry was deliberate in inviting stakeholders from the National Parks Service and the Great Green Wall Agency to engage with the World Bank to ensure the success of the project.
The Minister urged the Project Management Units (PMUs) from the different states to be ‘diplomatically independent’ in their relationship with their state governors.
He added that the ACRESAL project had the mandate to ensure land restoration, wetlands cultivation for the improvement of the land to make them fit for cultivation.
He continued that the ACRESAL would strengthen Nigeria’s long-term enabling environment for an integrated climate-resilient landscape.
“I am here to motivate and energise you, and also to encourage you to deliberate on the Draft Annual Work plan prepared by the various PMUs and clears same for onward transmission to the steering committee for approval.
“This is the much-needed step that will kick start disbursement of funds by the World Bank for implementation activities to begin,” Abdullahi said.
He expressed gratitude to Dr Joy Agene and her team from the World Bank on their efforts toward the full implementation of the ACReSAL project.
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