Devise Alternative Strategies for Social Sector Funding, FG Urged

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Abimbola Akosile

The Federal Government has been urged to seek and adopt new measures and strategies to ensure continuous funding for the country’s vital social sector; to provide a viable alternative to the dwindling funding from donor countries and international organisations.

Also, members of the National Assembly and civil society organisations have been urged to partner the government in proffering holistic solutions to the current trend and challenges facing adequate and sustainable social sector financing, coupled with the need to harness and strengthen domestic resources for social sector financing in the face of dwindling donors’ funding.

The calls were contained in a release issued by the Executive Director of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Mr. Auwal Musa Ibrahim aka Rafsanjani.

Rafsanjani made the calls ahead of a one-day workshop for National Assembly Members on ‘Understanding Nigeria’s Lower-Middle Income Status and Unlocking Potential for Local Resource Mobilisation for Social Sector Financing’, jointly organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation in conjunction with CISLAC, which is holding on Monday, July 17 at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja

According to him, “The current but unpleasant trend arising from dwindling donors’ resources leaves Nigeria, which is one of the major beneficiaries, with a challenge and no option than to proactively brainstorm, provoke critical discussions and harness potential for domestic resource mobilisation for sustainable social sector financing to inform appropriate legislative decisions and policy directions in Nigeria.

“While adequate and sustainable financing for social sector remains paramount to achieve healthy, secured and developed society, Nigeria’s ailing health, agriculture and education sectors have hitherto suffered from inadequate financing.

The CISLAC boss noted that although donor resources play an integral role in complementing Nigerian governments’ efforts in social sector financing, however, “we must as well not lose sight to acknowledge the present reality and proffer holistic measures to avert the detrimental impacts dwindling donors’ resources may pose to our nation’s social sector investment and development.”

Rafsanjani reiterated that while the fundamental purpose of humanitarian aid by any government is to support the efforts of a receiving nation at revitalising her social sector as well as uplifting the poor from extreme poverty, which renders them unable to attain self-reliance and effectively fight diseases, the present dwindling donors’ resources, if not matched with concrete legislative and policy measures will reverse existing achievements and backpedal development of our nation’s social sector.

“The rebasing of Nigeria’s GDP has firmed up the nation’s position as an emerging market economy. However, whilst GDP re-basing, Nigeria is fast witnessing downward trend in donors’ resources, practically buttressed by the recent international decisions to withdraw funding for social sector like the European Union (EU) which specifically withdraws financial support for Nigeria, “saying the country has enough resources to meet her developmental needs”;
“There is also Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative (GAVI) which runs out by 2020 with potentially 7.5 million children losing access to live-saving vaccines annually; United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warning governments to take full responsibility of their respective nutrition financing while their refusal may lead to another 2.5 million severely acute malnourished children and child mortality in the country.

“Against this backdrop the House of Representatives’ Committee on Appropriation in partnership with CISLAC finds it essential to open critical deliberation on the developmental challenge at hand. It is hoped that a result oriented deliberation will be applied in developing holistic strategies and supporting legislative and policy processes towards domestic resource mobilisation for adequate and sustainable social sector financing in Nigeria”, he added.