Vice President, Arc Mohammed Namadi Sambo has stated that the President Jonathan administration, has put in place the needed infrastructure to accelerate the attainment of all the eight United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), with less than one thousand days to the 2015 deadline.
He stated this on Thursday in Abuja, during the Stakeholders Briefing on the Application of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Acceleration Frame Work (MAF) to Fast-Track Progress against the MDGs in Nigeria.
He said “in addition to what directly the MDGs office is doing, it is recognized by this Administration, through Mr. President’s Transformation Agenda, that in order to address the issue of poverty, we must put the infrastructure needed for creation of wealth and in this direction we identified the various factors that are militating against our growth.”
Vice President Sambo enumerated these militating factors to include inadequacies in the power, health, transport, education, agriculture and water resources sectors, among others, however, emphasising that government had made significant strides in addressing them.
Speaking on the MDGs Acceleration Framework, Vice President Sambo said that the Goals are at the heart of the Transformation Agenda, adding that government would continue toformulate and execute policies and programmes towards their attainment.
According to him despite prioritising MDGs Goal 5 (reducing maternal mortality), through the MAF methodology, the three tiers of government would not neglect the seven other goals.
He stressed that the outputs of the MAF, which will comprise of a summary of identified problem areas, cost effective solutions and an action plan “will be presented to the Presidential Committee on the Assessment and Monitoring of the MDGs, the National Economic Council, and the National Council on Health for adoption and implementation by the three tiers of Government.”
In his remarks the Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, commended President Jonathan for his commitment and political will to ensure the MDGs are met. He noted that with this political will the attainment of the MDGs before 2015 is feasible. He added that giant strides have been achieved in the reduction of maternal mortality in the country, from about 800 deaths per 100,000 births in 2006 to 487 deaths per 100,000 births in 2011, attributing the reduction to the Administration’s policy of safe motherhood.
Speaking earlier, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs, Dr. Precious Gbeneol, stated that the briefing was to intimate stakeholders on the commencement of the MAF, adding that the programme was in collaboration with the United Nations System in Nigerian and the DFID. According to her the programme provides a strategic avenue for the acceleration of the MDGs, noting that Nigeria prioritised the Goal 5 because of the ripple effect it would have on the other goals.
There were goodwill messages from the National Assembly, the United Nation System in Nigeria and the DFID.
Present at the event were the Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Ambassador Nuhu Bajoga, Senate Committee Charmin on MDGs, Senator Mohammed Ndume, the Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe, Minister of Housing, Land and Urban Development Ms. Ama Pepple, and other top government functionaries.