By Ismaila Chafe, Abuja.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday inaugurated the Nigeria Integrated National Financing Framework Report on Sustainable Development (NIFF), on the side-lines of the 77th United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Speaking at the event, the president’s media aide, Mr Femi Adesina, quoted the Nigerian leader as saying:
“For Nigeria and, indeed, Africa as a whole, achieving the SDGs will mean ending poverty and hunger, safeguarding our ecosystem and the planet and ensuring our people live in peace and prosperity by the year 2030.”
While stressing the importance placed by his administration in achieving the goal, Buhari said: “It is pertinent to state that achieving inclusive, broad-based and sustainable development is a cardinal objective of our administration.
“It is for this purpose that the Federal Government of Nigeria established a number of ambitious programmes in an attempt to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs in Nigeria.
“The Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs has continued to provide technical leadership in the operations of the SDGs at all levels of governance in Nigeria.”
The president expressed delight that the process leading to the NIFF, which started in 2020, had finally crystallised into day’s activity.
He said: “Today’s event marks the end of a long process, which began in 2020 when the Steering Committee and the Core Working Group on Nigeria’s Integrated National Financing Framework were inaugurated.
“The Integrated National Financing Framework has been developed to map out a much-needed sustainable financing plan for Nigeria to deliver on our commitment to the SDGs and our national development aspirations.”
According to Buhari, the various developmental plans and programmes for the country have all been aligned with the SDGs and are poised to move the economy to greater heights despite the challenges confronting the country.
“Despite the challenges caused by the sharp drop in the prices of crude oil and the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria has remained resolute in our genuine desire to maintain and grow our economy.
“The 2017-2020 Economic Recovery and Growth Plan; the 2020 Economic Sustainability Plan; the 2021 National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy and the 2021-2025 National Development Plan are all aligned with the SDGs.
“It is in line with this commitment and with a focus on the National Development Plan (2021-2025) that the Federal Government of Nigeria, with the support of the United Nations Development Programme, has adopted the NIFF as a tool to improve SDGs financing.
“This is without increasing public debt and contingent liabilities to levels that will be detrimental to economic sustainability.”
While rallying Nigerians, international community and development partners behind the new initiative, the president assured stakeholders of its immediate implementation.
In her remarks, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, said that the United Nations had particularly praised the Nigerian government for the implementation of the national action plans, putting Nigeria ahead of many countries.
She added that in August, Nigeria became the “first country in the Global South to have successfully completed a Country-led Independent Evaluation of SDG-3 on ‘Quality Health and Well-being for All’ and SDG-4 on ‘Qualitative and Inclusive Education and Lifelong Learning for All”.
Orelope-Adefulire said that the Office of the Senior Special Assistant on SDGs also collaborated with the National Bureau of Statistics to track progress on the 230 Key Performance Indicators on annual basis.
She attributed the successes to the unflinching support of Buhari.
The presidential aide also said that she was also working with some state governors to “integrate Sustainable Development Goals into their policies, programmes and budgets’’.
She expressed optimism that before the end of the current administration all the states would be covered.
Goodwill messages were delivered by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed; Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed; the European Union and development partners.