Nigeria has reiterated its commitment to scaling up interventions in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.
President Goodluck Jonathan disclosed this at the quarterly meeting of the Presidential Committee on the Assessment and Monitoring of the MDGs held at the Presidential Villa.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs Precious Gbenol said the Nigerian government would intervene in the areas of funding and deepening multi-sectoral partnership.
She said the government would also intervene by ensuring synergy with states and deepening partnership with the international development partners.
Gbenol said a lot of progress had been made in the last two years in the key targets goals one, three and six and there were potentials to achieve more on goals four, five and eight.
“In goals one, which is reducing the hunger target, we have been able to reduce hunger from the 1991 prevalence of 19.3 percent to 8.25 percent well ahead of the 9.6 prevalence rate set target of 2015,” she said.
“We have also been able to improve our target on gender equality by ensuring that gender equality is maintained in primary and secondary schools by wiping out disparity,” she added.
She said the current infant mortality rate was 94 per 1,000 live births while the projection to achieving the MDGs was 64 per 1,000 live births.
The presidential assistant expressed optimism that with the intervention that had been put in place such as immunization, the oral dehydration therapy and zinc supplementation, infant mortality would further reduce.
Gbenol emphasised the need for the country to work harder on water and sanitation.
Meanwhile, Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo has reiterated government’s commitment to meeting MDG targets for water supply and sanitation considering the abundant water resources, existence of national policies for water supply and sanitation and strategic framework and guidelines as well as existing trained and trainable pool of manpower.
Represented by Architect Darius Dickson Ishaku, Over-Seeing Minister of Environment at the opening ceremony of the Nigerian Water Supply Association (NWSA) 3rd Annual Conference, General Meeting/Exhibition in Abuja, Sambo emphasised the need to reform the water sector. He stated that reforms could take a range of forms; from wholesale and fundamental changes to the way water policies are designed and implemented, to relatively minor adjustment to refine existing policy settings and instruments in order to improve their effectiveness.
He said the Federal Government is adopting several strategies to improve the water supply and sanitation sector. He added that the reforms would bring up more innovative strategies that would further assist the Government to strengthen the existing ones towards ensuring provision of sustainable water supply and sanitation to all Nigerians.
In her keynote address, the Minister of Water Resources represented by the Director of Water Supply in the Ministry, Engr. Bello Tinau said the theme of the conference, which is ‘water sector reform: Harnessing Global Knowledge for local Action’ is very apt to the current level of development in the water sector as well as the tenets of the Transformation Agenda of the Administration of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
She noted that the objectives of the Association, which is concerned with efficiency of water supply for domestic, commercial and industrial use and ensure coordinated action towards acquiring and improving information on water supply and sanitation from technical, legal, administrative, economic and social points of view. She added that with such objectives, the Association would contribute to water sector development and charged that all hands to be on deck to make the Association strong and healthy.
She acknowledged the continuous contributions of the development partners to the water sector development and assured the Association of the Ministry’s strong support to ensure that the it achieves its objectives heights.
Speaking,first President of the Association, Engr. Mustapha Bukar represented by Head of PPP and Urban Water Sector Reform in the Ministry, Engr. Benson Ajisegiri solicited support for the Association to enable it effect the desired change in the sector, especially in areas such as human resources development, operation and maintenance to transform service delivery and sustainability.
According to him, “one of the best ways to effectively improve water supply delivery in Nigeria is to create a platform that would bring together the experiences of the private sector, as well as consumers, to chart a way forward towards addressing the widening gap of demand and supply and quality of service.