Daily Trust (Abuja)

18 January 2013

Nigeria: Senate Demands Release of U.S.$5 Billion for MDGs Projects

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Senator Ali Ndume has charged the federal government to make a release of $5 billion for the implementation of the MDGs before 2015 deadline.

Speaking yesterday at the stakeholders briefing on the application of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals acceleration framework organized by the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs in Abuja, Senator Ndume said about 189 countries committed to achieving the MDGs in 2000 including Nigeria.

Part of the commitment was the setting aside of $1billion annually by Nigeria to implement projects on the eight identified goals, some of which include, reduction of extreme poverty, attainment of basic education for all, reduction of HIV/AIDS, infant and maternal mortality etc.

According to Ndume, Nigeria did not start implementing the MDGs programs until 2006, leaving a gap of $5billion not spent. He said with 2015 around the corner with the targets yet to be accomplished, the government should make available the supposed $5billion to fast-track the process.

He observed that with the focus on goal 5; reduction of infant and maternal mortality, there would consequently be pressure on goal one and two; reduction in extreme hunger and attainment of basic education for all. The senator emphasized that the average crude oil produced by Nigeria in four days could bring in the said sum.

However, in a swift reaction, Vice President Namadi Sambo said the situation was not as simplistic as enunciated by Senator Ndume.

He said "it is not as simple as the senator put it. If it were, its something we would have done without delays. As we intensify effort to accelerate the achievement of goal five, the government will not abandon the seven other goals. The resources allocated to them will be duly utilized."

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