MDGs: Our Focus Is On The Poor Masses – Gbeneol

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The Special Assistant to the President on Millenium Development Goals, Dr. Precious Gbeneol has disclosed that under the MDGs’ conditional grants scheme (CGS), 5,532 projects have been completed across 113 local government areas and 2,690 projects across 36 states.  She added that 6,200 projects have been completed across 148 local government areas and 1,203 projects are ongoing in 11 States.
Dr. Gbeneol stated that with less than 1, 000 days to the deadline of the programme, the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Millennium Development Goals, OSSAP-MDGs will sustain focus on the issues that affect the extremely poor in the country even as they continue to drive the transformation agenda with the MDGs.

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She made these declarations during her presentation on Friday, 21st June, at the 2013 Ministerial Platform holding at the National Press Centre, Radio House in Abuja. She revealed that poverty mapping, baseline facility inventory and needs assessment conducted by the OSSAP-MDGs have indicated that the CGS impacts for 2011 to 2012 expanded from 113 local government areas to 261 local government areas.  Social safety nets (SSN) in the 24 States included, she said, amounted to N10 Billion Naira under the 50% counterpart contribution from States, which was targeted at the extreme poor households with children aged 0-15 years as well as pregnant women.
The Special Assistant to the President also said that “Interventions aimed at addressing development gaps in the six geopolitical zones of the country covered areas such as education, health, water supply, small scale power supply, skills acquisition centres and community halls.
In the area of health, the interventions instituted schemes for village health workers, community health insurance, community health extension workers and midwives”; she intimated.
While highlighting her Office’s inputs in the education sector, Precious Gbeneol mentioned, that the intervention was initiated in the annual capacity development of serving public primary school teachers nationwide; the training of head teachers of public primary schools; gender education programmes; the federal teachers scheme; support for nomadic education programmes; support for the national Almajiri education programme and support to the National Teachers Institute.
In the area of youths development, Dr Gbeneol identified giant strides recorded, with 15,618 MDGs advocates trained at the orientation camps for the 2012 batches A and B; 411 corps members trained under the 2011 work-plan as well as empowered and 600 corps members trained under the 2012 work plan.
She said, “Lands, housing and urban development projects pictured the construction of 114 buildings comprising classroom blocks, health centres, community halls,  ICT training centres  and provision of 2,397 solar street lights.
In the Mikang Local Government Area of Plateau State, the SSAP said, classrooms were renovated at the Zomo Science Primary School as well as desks provided; boreholes were funded in Bida Local Government Area of Niger State and farms were funded in Gusau Local Government Area of Zamfara State. Also, in the Garko Local Government Area of Kano State, the Kafin Chiri Water Treatment Plant has benefitted from the Conditional Grants Scheme of the MDGs initiatives,” she explained.
The SSAP also said that “The needs assessment result shows that $78 per capita per year is to be spent to attain the MDGs by 2015 in education, health, agriculture and water and sanitation sectors.
Also, she informed that, it has been estimated that for Nigeria to attain the MDGs by 2015, there is an annual funding gap of around N1.3 trillion across the country. The fund required, she said, will be used to implement the eight MDGs and address the critical sector of social infrastructure; the SSAP contend.
In line with the transformation agenda of President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, the Nigerian vision 20; 2020 and the nation’s determination to make substantial progress towards achieving MDGs by 2015, the SSAP said, her Office has accelerated the process of strengthening social safety nets through conditional cash transfer (CCT) to the vulnerable population in our communities.

Gbeneol further said, the structure of social safety nets (SSN) is such that 24 States has benefitted 10Bn (50% counterpart contribution from States) will go to extreme poor households with children 0-15 years & pregnant women. Furthermore, 56,500 households receive N5, 000 per month for 12 months and will eventually receive N100, 000 and business training during the program to assist in setting up an enterprise of their own.  She submitted that the criteria for selection of the beneficiaries are derived from human capacity development index broken down to State level and poverty mapping while at the end, five poorest LGAs, five poorest wards in the LGAs and the poorest households within the wards enjoyed the benefit.

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