Niger State Government has reiterated its continued commitment to putting strategies and policies in place to attract more national and international partners towards building a viable, secured environment for businesses and investment to thrive in the State.
The State Governor who is also Chairman, North Central Governors Forum, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello disclosed this while declaring open the Annual Retreat of the UN Country Team Nigeria held at the Royal Institute for Training and Human Capital Development, Zuma Rock Resort, Suleja.
Governor Sani Bello was represented by Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Ahmed Ibrahim Matane further explained that from the very beginning of the present administration’s pact with the people of the State, “we were conscious that if we are to make a significant impact in the lives of the people, then we must deliberately address poverty in its very many facets by increasing food security through agriculture, poverty alleviation through youths and women empowerment, improved healthcare services, qualitative education, adequate water and sanitation, social justice and infrastructural development to spur economic growth in the State”.
Alhaji Sani Bello revealed that the present administration is determined to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) by modestly implementing projects and programmes in almost all the vulnerable communities of the State, thereby improving the quality of life of the populace.
According to the Governor, the State Government has over the years focused on developing an effective healthcare system that will ensure a comprehensive primary healthcare centre in each of the 274 wards across the State.
However, through the support of SDGs, Government has been able to complete 15 Comprehensive Primary Healthcare Centres completed and equipped across the State, the Governor stressed.
Sani Bello told the participants that at the height of COVID-19 pandemic, the SDGs supported the Government in the areas of advocacy and sensitization, Procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), non-contact thermometers, drugs, face masks, and other sanitary items, added that the State Government, in addition, had since taken the opportunity of the COVID-19 to construct Molecular Laboratory at General Hospital Minna for testing COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
He further said that all of these modest achievements did not come without some challenges, chiefly among them is the COVID 19 pandemic which tested our resilience as a people and adversely affected our inflow of funds, resulting in certain drawbacks in the attainment of our set targets, the recent increased cases of insecurity in some parts of the State has further taken a toll on our finances. The situation has also led to the dislocation of many communities, thereby posing a looming challenge of food security.
The Governor expressed optimism that the retreat will no doubt help in integrating the challenges and opportunities in the implementation of the programmes of the UN System, stressing that the “outcome of your deliberations from this retreat will stimulate renewed commitment and development of new strategies for the attainment of SDGs in Nigeria”.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator of the UN in Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon disclosed that the essence of the retreat was to reflect on the performances of the UN Development System in Nigeria in the previous year and agree on what needs to be adjusted or improved in the coming year.
Kallon reaffirmed the UN Nigeria’s commitment to supporting the development aspirations of the Government and the people of Nigeria.
The Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator of the UN in Nigeria emphasized that the UN Nigeria is leaving no stone unturned in this Decade of Action to accelerate the achievement of the 17 SDGs and their targets.
The Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari represented by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Special Projects, Mr. Effiong Johnson appealed to the UN Nigeria for support and collaboration with the Government at all levels towards attaining the SDGs in Nigeria.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, Princess Adegoke Orelope Adefulire reaffirmed that the 17 goals and 169 targets are aimed at eradicating poverty in all its ramifications and shifting the world to a sustainable and resilient development path.
Princess Adefulire stated that following the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals in Nigeria began to implement the SDGs almost immediately. First, it established institutional frameworks at the national and sub-national levels to support effective implementation
The theme of the retreat is “Strengthening the UN Country Team support to SDGs implementation”.