BY COBHAM NSA, ABUJA – Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma has blamed lack of political will and foreign aids’ addiction for Nigeria and Africa‘s inability to accomplish set targets in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
He told participants at the high level policy dialogue on development planning in Africa that “We have not made as much progress as we had hoped for partly because of poor implementation mechanisms and excessive reliance on development aid.”
Senator Udoma also picked out poor data management as another major issue hindering sectoral development in the country, adding that lack of proper data collation and management has encumbered economic planning not only in Nigeria, but throughout the African continent.
Speaking at the event, organised by the Capacity Development Division, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in partnership with the Ministry of Budget and National Planning in Abuja, Senator Udoma said, “On the whole, African countries failed to reach the set targets in many of the categories.”
According to the Minister, “Another factor is the failure of many African countries in mainstreaming the MDGs into their national economic plans, policies and budgets,” even as he noted that, “added to these is the fact that many African countries lacked relevant data and mechanisms to monitor progress.”
Senator Udoma, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Fatima Nana, however said various reports on the MDGs’ implementation review indicated that African countries have made encouraging progress in a number of areas
He also said that Nigeria made some progress in achieving some of the MDGs, particularly as poverty incidence dropped from 65.6 per cent in 1996 to 33.1 per cent in 2012/2013, adding, “Significant progress was also recorded on maternal health with improvement from the baseline figure of 1000 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1990 to 243 per 100,000 live births in 2014.”
Udoma, who admitted that Nigeria could not meet the MDGs’ expectations largely due to lack of political will to implement policies, said to avoid failures in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Federal Government had concluded plans to ensure the mainstreaming of SDGs into the annual budgets at both federal and state level.
He said, “Let me also inform you that concerted efforts are being made to ensure that the SDGs are mainstreamed into the annual budgets at the federal and state levels. Other actions we have taken in ensuring effective mainstreaming the SDGs in our national plans, include raising public awareness and applying multi-stakeholder approaches”
In his remarks, UN Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP resident Representative, Mr Edward Kallon said the dialogue session with the theme, “Mainstreaming the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into National Development Plans” presents “a useful first step in embracing a ‘business unusual’ way of doing the business of development.
He said that “While the challenges facing SDG mainstreaming in Africa are many and varied, a useful entry point for tackling these challenges is to address the seemingly co-joined problems of weak statistical capacities and dearth of comprehensive, reliable and up-to-date data for objective policy and programme design as well as tracking of progress on specific SDG indicators. As they say, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it and you can’t improve it.”
Kallon said the UN system, under the aegis of UN Development Group (UNDG) chaired by UNDP, has developed the ‘Mainstreaming, Acceleration and Policy Support (MAPS)’ framework as a practical tool and common approach to its support for the implementation of the Agenda 2030 for sustainable at the country level.