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MDGS PROGRAMME FACES RECORD-KEEPING CHALLENGES IN NIGERIA –FG

By NBF NEWS
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The Federal Government on Thursday admitted that the efforts by the country to meet the 2015 Millennium Development Goals were being undermined by the lack of adequate data on the various intervention programmes at all levels of government.

This emerged during the presentation of the MDGs Fourth Quarter, 2009, and First Quarter, 2010 reports by the Presidential Committee on the Assessment and Monitoring of the MDGs.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs and head of the secretariat, Mrs. Amina Ibrahim, informed journalists at a news conference after the meeting that the lack of records on the intervention projects was a big challenge to the MDGs programme.

Reacting to observations that the country might not be able to meet the MDGs target by 2015, Ibrahim pointed out that a lot of successes had been recorded.

However, she said there were inadequate records to match the government's achievements in the MDGs effort.

Acting President Goodluck Jonathan, at the meeting, directed the MDGs Secretariat to develop a reliable database, Ibrahim added.

'Data is a huge challenge to us. If you ask for the data of the success recorded, we will find it difficult; and it is a very big challenge to us. That is why the Acting President today said we must harmonise and get a baseline data this year,' she said.

Besides poor record-keeping, another challenge confronting the MDGs is the lack of commitment on the part of some state governments.

Ibrahim disclosed that some unidentified states were holding the country back due to their nonchalant attitude to the programme.

'Some states are doing well while others are not; and the states that not doing well are pulling the country back,' she lamented.

She explained that the Acting President had directed the Ministry of Education to liaise with the Governors Forum to find ways of easing access to the Education Trust Fund for state governments.

She said, 'For easy access to the ETF, the Acting President has directed a meeting between the minister of education and the chairman of the Governors Forum to see how they can take a fresh look at the criteria that would enable access to that.'

Disclosing further details of what transpired at the meeting, Ibrahim said, 'We looked at the performance of the debt relief fund for the past three years. The focus was the 2009 appropriation, that was the N112bn in 2009 and you all know that we just concluded the performance of that budget on the 31st of March.

'Aggregate expenditure largely went to three sectors, health, education and water.

'In those sectors, health took about 35 per cent, 23 per cent went to education and 25 per cent went to water.

'These are all areas that are reflective of the challenges we have in the MDGs.'

She also said the country was on course to meet the maternal and child mortality goals.

'Of course, MDGs challenges in the health sector are the ones of maternal mortality and child mortality.

'However, the investments we have made over the past three years, particularly last year, have made an impact on the state of maternal and child mortality.

'The NDHL that was recently released showed that the investment reduced the mortality by 60 per cent and this is a big success story.

'The challenge, however, is to reduce it further because it is not sufficient and to ensure by 2015 we reach the target of reducing it by three-quarters.

'The investment we made went beyond infrastructure; we put money into more than primary health care centres.