Indications have emerged that countries like Ghana and Kenya may beat Nigeria to the attainment of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as federal government is said to have reneged on its promise to use the debt relief gains in servicing the MDG projects.
The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Hassan Doguwa, who doubles as the chairman of the Network of African Parliamentarians on the implementation of MDGs in the continent, who gave the indications also lamented that government has been epileptic in the release of funds to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) to meet the MDGs.
He made the observations when he led other members of the committee on an oversight visit to the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), over the weekend, in Abuja
It would be recalled that the administration of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, while exiting Nigeria from the Paris club of debtor nations, pledged to use the debt relief gains to service the needs of the Millennium Development Goals, but three years to the elapse of the programme, most of the objectives are still far from being met.
His words: “Going by the number of most ministries we have visited, I want to be very frank with you and Nigerians that because of the epileptic releases of funds by the Federal Government to agencies, the MDGs are very unlikely to be achieved.
“MDGs like you know are capital intensive projects, these are issues to do with medical care, health care delivery, issues to do with development of education facilities and structures, issues to do with teacher training, fight of killer diseases like HIV/AIDS, which you all know as many can bear witness with me that these are capital intensive projects and the funds we are using to actualize MDGs people should know are debt relief gains, they are not supposed to come from the national fund.
“Now that we have gotten these relief and we made a commitment to the Paris club that these monies we are getting, in the name of debt relief we will use it to service the MDGs, then we have no excuse whatever to renege, money or no money, revenue or no revenue, MDG funds must be on ground to actualize MDGs.
“If we continue this way certainly we are likely be late even by countries like Kenya, we can be late even by countries like Ghana,” he said.
Meanwhile, Acting Executive Secretary of the commission, Professor, Charles Onocha blamed states for slow pace of intervention in schools.
He said UBEC’s major challenge was the failure of some states to provide counterpart funds, a prerequisite for accessing the intervention funds.
According to him, more than N40 billion is yet to be accessed by some states and are being made to stay idle in commercial banks.
He said UBEC now has the mandate to ensure implementation and supervision of projects at various levels, as well as ensure full compliance.