SDGs Implementation: Kaduna Stands Tall At UN Gen Assembly …remains a Pace-setter


By Joseph Edegbo:

Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, North West Nigeria has said the State stands out as a pace-setter in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This acclamation was recorded at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly where it presented an in-depth analysis of its SDGs data and strategy for implementation, the first State in Nigeria to do so.

Addressing the Kaduna state SDGs acceleration conference, held in Kaduna on “Development Vision and Aspiration of Kaduna State within the context of the SDGs and the 2030’’ El-Rufa’i said his administration has made progress by adopting the SDGs targets and indicators, investing in data that allows “us to know where we are coming from and what we have achieved so far”.

The governor, highlighted the progress which Kaduna State made, especially the redress of the ugly trends in public schools.

Buttressing his achievements, before the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), Ms Amina Mohammed, and other participants at the conference, El-rufai explained that he inherited 4,200 public primary schools in dehumanizing conditions.

El-Rufai who also laid foundation for the Amina Mohammed SDGs Data Lab Building said that he inherited enrolment rate stagnant at 1.1 million pupils, with at least 50 per cent of pupils taking lessons on the floor because of lack of furnitures in June 2015.

He said Amina Mohammed’s building, which is funded by the Gates Foundation, will house analytics operations to deepen the convergence and analysis of big data.

According to the Governor: “In our effort to improve teaching quality standards, the Kaduna State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) had in June 2017 conducted a Primary Four competency test for teachers.”

He explained that 21,780 out of 33,000 teachers that sat for competency examination failed to meet the 75% benchmark.

As part of our education reform programme, we sacked the failed teachers and recruited 25,000 new teachers.

“We have also expanded access to education by making the first nine years of schooling free for boys and the entire twelve years of primary and secondary education free for girls.

This has led to increase in School enrolment from 1.1 million to 2.1 million almost doubling the number of pupils in the State.

The governor said “Through findings from our Annual Health Facility Census, we are investing in 255 primary healthcare Centres (PHCs) – one functional PHC per political ward.

This is to reduce the incidence of under-5 mortality and maternal mortality rates by almost 50%.

“In Kachia Local Government Area, government has invested in the grazing reserves and about 30,000 youths have been supported with funds to cultivate beans for export.

“It is equally providing training and support for commercial farming. In Kubau Local Government Area, 5,000 youths have been supported to cultivate maize, rice and beans for local consumption and export.

“To boost food production, the Kaduna State government has made substantial investment in the agriculture sector, including investment in easing the supply of crucial inputs.

“However, the volatility of incomes and food production coupled with weak social protection and insurance systems have left many households vulnerable to food insecurity, at least on a seasonal basis.

“Our poverty alleviation strategy is driven by knowledge from the Kaduna State GDP & Agricultural Surveys. Agriculture constitutes 36.75% of Kaduna’s economy (KDGDP 2017). About 42.6% of the workforce is employed in agriculture (KASS 2017) producing 22% of the country’s maize,’’ he said.

“We believe that evidence-based data improves our decision-making process by indicating which outcomes are more realistic and how much is required to fund the programmes that ensure that no one is left behind.

According to the Governor, the state was developing integrated and sustainable Infrastructure that would make Kaduna State a leading investment destination in Nigeria: “our comparative advantage’’ to drive the revamping of the industrial sector, to make our state globally competitive.

The Kaduna State Development Plan, which is aligned to the SDGs, is geared towards achieving Social Outcomes by delivering jobs, social security and prosperity.

The infrastructure master plan and industrial plans, he said, were geared towards achieving Economic outcomes through:

“We have prioritized domesticating and localizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“We are benchmarking our progress towards meeting the 2030 agenda as the fastest approach to ensuring that we tackle the issues of poverty and human capital development in Kaduna State.

“Our commitment to promoting equal opportunity has guided our programmes in government. And these align with the 17 commitments outlined in the SDGs which advance the goal of ensuring that “No one is left behind”.

“Given the imperative to enhance the living conditions of most of our people, Kaduna State and Nigeria need to ramp the attainment of the fundamental targets and indicators that are encapsulated in the SDGs.’’ El-Rufai said.

Also speaking at the SDGs conference, the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), Amina Mohammed, while commending Kaduna state government on SDGs, disclosed that extreme poverty across the world in the last few years has remained high, the same way global hunger has increased.

She also said climate change is threatening the actualization of the SDGs.

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