By Kehinde Adeoye
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says that lifting Nigerians out of poverty is a national development priority, observing that the implementation of the Federal Government’s social protection programmes is central to its vision for sustainable national development and achieving the SDGs.
He disclosed this at the official launch of the “Review of Baseline Report and Realignment of the National Statistical System with SDGs, 2020” which was held at the State Banquet Hall in Abuja, on Thursday.
Speaking about the Social investment plan, Osinbajo said “This is why in May 2019, Mr. President made a public commitment to lifting approximately 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within a 10-year period.”
“This is a national development priority, which again follows on the establishment of our social protection programmes, the largest Social Investment Programmes (SIP) on the continent and which by itself, is an attempt to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs across the country,” the Vice President affirmed.
Osinbajo speaking further says the SIP is “a multi-pronged approach to wealth creation, human capacity development and poverty alleviation,” adding that “the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) component of the programme reached approximately 8.9 million poor and vulnerable households and 37.7 million individuals across the country.”
Speaking on the impact of the Social Investment Programmes, Osinbajo noted that “the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) has provided about 2.4 million loans to petty traders and small entrepreneurs worth N38billion across the country.
“Also the administration’s youth employment and skills enhancement initiative, N-Power Programme, “is designed to employ 1 million youths between the ages of 18-35 and further equip them with skills for the job market over a two-year period.”
Highlighting the efforts made to reduce poverty and provide jobs, he said when the President Buhari-led administration set out the Social Investment Programmes, which is now regarded as the largest of its kind in the continent, one of the objectives was to accelerate the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals in the country.
According to him, the Federal Government’s national development objective is also in line with SDGs, and the Buhari administration will continue to ramp up efforts in reducing poverty, providing jobs for Nigerians, creating wealth and addressing climate change issues.
Prof. Osinbajo noted that Nigeria’s objective of achieving sustainable national development is consistent with the SDGs goals, “to engender an economically sustainable, socially inclusive and environmentally resilient world.
“For Nigeria, and indeed Africa as a whole, the achievement of the SDGs is crucial to the task of ending poverty, hunger, and disease, and safeguarding our environment.”
Indeed according to the United Nations, in its report on “How the UN is supporting The Sustainable Development Goals in Nigeria,” it noted that “since the adoption of the SDGs in September 2015, Nigeria has continued to demonstrate its commitment to achieving the global goals through leadership and ownership of the implementation process.”
The Vice President then emphasized FG’s commitment, noting that today’s “ceremony marks the culmination of a process which began in 2016 for monitoring and evaluating the progress made in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in Nigeria.”
Prof. Osinbajo further noted that with the launch, Nigeria will be able to further track its progress annually on the SDGs. He observed that the implementation of the Federal Government’s social protection programmes was central to its vision for sustainable national development and achieving the SDGs.
The Vice President noted that “as a successor plan for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Nigeria SDGs Indicator-Baseline Report (2016) reinforced the need to strengthen our national statistical system to enable effective tracking and monitoring of the SDGs that we all committed to.”
On the Report on the ‘Review of Baseline and Realignment of the National Statistical System with SDGs, 2020’ itself, the VP highlighted that “One of the areas of marked improvement in this document is the increased range of reporting – from the 126 indicators recorded in the 2016 Baseline Report – to the 141 indicators in the current 2020 Report.”
Just as the Report also observed, Prof. Osinbajo emphasized that ensuring the SDGs by integrating them into plans and policies, was the approach taken by the Buhari administration in the implementation of its development plans.
These include the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (2017 – 2020), the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy (NPGRS), the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), and more recently, the National Development Plan 2021-2025, which was approved by the Federal Executive Council in November.
The Vice President commended the efforts of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, and the Statistician-General, Dr. Simon Harry who also made presentations at the event.
He praised Orelope-Adefulire for her “passion and commitment to the enormous task of meeting our SDG commitments”, and the Statistician-General “for your leadership in this important process.”
The VP observed that “the Nigeria SDGs Implementation Plan (2020-2030) offers a coherent pathway for achieving the expected outcomes in the next decade.”
He then presented the report and later inspected 19 ambulances presented by the Nigerian SDGs Office to support the healthcare delivery system at the sub-national level.