Mar 26 2012
By Chineme Okafor
The announcement which followed a meeting of both governments’ officials at the National Planning Commission (NPC) in Abuja, was part of discussion on the partnership of Nigeria and UK in Nigeria’s development agenda such as tackling poverty and enhancing social stability.
Accordingly, the partnership is expected to aid about four million women and children in accessing family planning and free health care as a measure to combat infant and maternal death, provide 10 million insecticide treated bed nets to protect nine million young children as well as provide access to free or highly subsidised and effective anti-malaria treatment to households.
The package will also help to improve nutrition for five million children, provide clean and safe water for over two million people, education for 800,000 children and teacher training for 5,000 women from rural areas in the Northern part of the country.
The fund will also help 10 million people to access financial services that could help build their businesses, increase effectiveness and transparency in the use of oil revenues to improve the lives of Nigerians as well as increase electrical power supply, which currently hinders economic growth in the country.
Announcing the funding support, O’Brien noted that the UK government was determined to help Nigeria improve its citizens especially its poorest citizens that lack access to basic amenities.
He also explained that the UK government had earmarked resources to enable a doubling of its assistance to Nigeria from around £120 million in 2009 to approximately £250 million per year, starting from 2012, adding that it is hoped that this results in increased investment, growth, direct impacts on people’s lives, and increased stability and improved governance.
“I am delighted to announce these six new programmes which will make a difference to some of Nigeria’s poorest people. The UK government remains fully committed to supporting development in Nigeria and these new programmes contribute to our on-going scale up of UK development assistance here,” he said.
“We will continue to work closely with the Nigerian government and other partners to ensure that British support contributes to Nigeria achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” he said.
Expressing the delight of the Nigerian government over the new financial commitment, Usman, who signed the agreements on behalf of the Federal Government, said: “These new programmes will support the government’s on-going efforts to tackle the challenges of poverty and create a more enabling environment for stability, growth and development in Nigeria.”
He further said: “The six new programmes will provide significant support in the areas of girls’ education, infrastructure, peace building, agriculture, women empowerment and increased support to the Nigerian government’s ‘Transformation Agenda’ and to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.”
Usman explained that the programmes would be implemented through the Department for International Development (DFID), National Planning Commission, Ministries of Health, Education and Power.
According to him, “The DFID will work with Nigerians to deliver results through more direct provision of services and opportunities to poor people, while supporting the political and economic conditions for progress, and helping Nigeria’s government apply tools for better public financial management.
“The National Planning Commission (NPC) is responsible for ensuring that all donors design and operate programmes which fit the Nigerian government’s development plans and the needs of Nigerian citizens.”
The minister reiterated that NPC would work closely with the DFID in monitoring and evaluating the programmes to ensure that there is a strong Nigerian involvement in managing and running them with a key focus of delivering results and desired outcomes.
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