As the federal government is committed towards ensuring that the country achieves the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDG, Precious Gbeneol, has appealed to beneficiaries to make judicious use of funds released to them for execution of projects.
The essence of the project, she pointed out is to enhance their knowledge in a particular skill and to reduce poverty in the country. At least N4 trillion was needed annually to fund the MDGs, while N3 trillion was spent in 2012 to implement MDGs projects.
Ms. Gbeneol, who made the appeal at a dinner in Abuja said that the implementation of the projects would enhance development and boost the economy of the country.
Specifically, the Federal Government has spent N11.3 billion on developmental projects in 113 local governments under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).The government gave each of local governments N100 million for the projects while the respective state and local governments also contributed N100 million as counterpart fund.
The Presidential aide lamented that in some communities, members of such communities have vandalised some projects that have been completed saying that it only sets the nation backwards.
“Take provision of water for example, there are some communities we have installed up to three pumps. Each time we install the pumps, some members of the communities go there and vandalised them, but because we need to have water running in those communities, we go again to install a pump and they keep vandalising them.
“This has made our job very difficult. We need the media to assist us sensitise Nigerians on the need to protect these facilities in their localities so that we can attain our MDGs targets” Gbeneol said.
She also disclosed that a lot of Nigerians that have been empowered with various vocational skills are not putting such into use despite the fact that they have been provided with the relevant equipment.
While expressing her worry about the way some of the communities handle some projects, she nevertheless stated that some communities are really working hard, but for those who are not, they should start implementing the projects given to them.
Observers have pointed out that progress had been made in most of the goals with the hope that before the 2015 deadline, Nigeria would achieve goals four and five, reducing child mortality and improving maternal health, respectively.
There are plans by the federal government to recruit about 441,000 primary school teachers before 2015 to enable it meet some expectations of the United Nations (UN) on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG-2) on Universal Primary Education (UBE).
As at November 2013, the federal government was able to recruit only 105,000 teachers, though it needs about 300,000 classrooms to meet MDG requirements.
While enrolment of children into primary schools increased from 88% in 2008 to 97% in 2010, no fewer than 66.1% of Nigerian youths between the ages of 15 and 24 are still illiterate.
The MDGs framework has helped to focus international and local attention on improving the health of those most vulnerable in the Nigerian society. Inadequate human resources remains a major challenge to the health care in Nigeria and must be addressed in order to make the required progress.
In ensuring universality of access to quality health care in Nigeria, issues such as sustainability, passage of the health bill, healthcare financing, GDP- health budget ratio, Public-Private Partnership, universal health insurance among others will help health care in the country.
The MDG’s office in Nigeria is in collaboration with the ministry of health and international development agencies is implementing programmes such as the Midwives Service Scheme, Community Health, Extension Workers initiative, the Village Health Workers Scheme, the Saving One Million Lives Initiatives and the United Nations MDGs acceleration Framework (MAF).
Efforts are being made across board with other initiative such as the Conditional Grants Scheme as well as the deployment of the grand breaking mobile money technology to drive the new scale up of Conditional Cash Transfers (CCT)for which President Jonathan approved the sum of N 10 billion.
With less than two years to go in attainment of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs, Dr. precious Gbeneol has solicited media support in the nation’s quest to achieve the goals.
Gbeneol who spoke in Abuja said Nigerians need to assist the present administration attain the MDGs but added that the only way they can do that is through support by the media.
She said, “a lot of people have not heard what we are doing, and there are lots of Nigerians who can assist us with our work to accelerate efforts at achieving theses goals. But there needs to be sensitisation by the media.