For Nigeria to attain her Sustainable Development Goals, SDG, leaders in both private and public sectors must collaborate in the implementation of the set goals.
This comes as the Federal Government, FG, estimates the funding requirements for the goals to be attained at about $10 billion annually.
Meanwhile, Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki said there is too much wastage in government especially at the federal level stressing that unless waste is eliminated the nation will be in deeper trouble.
Speaking at the just concluded 29th edition of the Nigeria Economic Summit, NSE#29, in a panel session, titled, ‘Half Point to 2030: Rethinking the Strategy Towards Achieving the SDGs’, leaders in both private and public sector, advocated for strict adherence to fiscal responsibility and application of innovative ideas to achieve success.
They said it is imperative to assess the nation’s strategy, find out progress made towards the SDGs and also ascertain the various challenges hindering success.
To ensure meaningful advancements, Nigeria, they said, must priorities poverty reduction, quality education, healthcare access, and sustainable economic growth.
They were of the view also that data unification across all levels of government with digital tools would help in easy implementation and project tracking.
$10bn funding needed
The Senior Special Adviser to the President on SDGs, Mrs. Adegoke Orelope-Adefulire, disclosed that the biggest challenge to the goals attainment is how to raise the $10billion funding required to finance the SDGs annually because, according to her, the budget of both Federal and sub-national governments put together can’t match the half of the said fund needed to implement SDGs in Nigeria.
To attain the set goals, she said it is important to start implementing the Addis Ababa agenda which is hinged on financing the SDGs.
On how to raise the needed funding, she said the private sector must compliment the government and that government needs to expand the tax net in order to get more people into the net.
She also underscored the need for collaboration between the national and sub-nationals, which for her is key in fundi g and realization of the SDG goals.
She stated: “To finance SDGs, we need $10bn annually but what we have including at the sub nationals is not up to half.
So, there is need to source for fund from public and private sector perspectives.
“What we need to do is to expand the tax net to bring in those outside the network.
Also, we need to reach out donor and private sector support, the buy in of the sub nationals is critical, especially the States and Local Governments.
“The engagement with the sub-nationals are key, they must come to the realization that we must join hands to deliver on our social contract.
“Unless we come together, we can’t escalate in the integrated public finance.
“We encourage private sector to compliment the public sector. They must invest though CSR and mobilize their resources.
“Invest in infrastructure where you can get tax holidays. They have to come and show commitment and partnership.”
She urged captains of industries to mobilise resources and align with government to attain the SDGs, assuring that before the end of this year, they will start implementation.
On his part, the representative of the United Nations at the summit, Mr. Nonso Obikili, stressed the need to leverage technology to improve on services.
He explained that the sub-nationals are already working with Federal government to align their data, using digital tools.
According to him, that would make the implementation of SDGs more transparent and seamless.
He stated: “Digital tools have become the norms. We have moved from zero to 90%. It has become clear now that data is key in this.
“The sub-nationals have become more aware and have fused into the national data system.
“The FG and sub nationals must align now and be part of the data process. We are ensuring everybody keys into the project.
“The infrastructure has to be revamped to reach all nooks and crannies, rural leaders have to be included. Sub nationals must take ownership and they work closely for us to understand what each has to do.
“Now we are having relative peace, I am certain we I’ll make progress, working with the private sector and donor agencies.”
How to raise funds
On the how to raise funds, the Managing Director, Nigeria Flour Mills Limited, Omoboyede Olusanya, said Federal Government must create an enabling environment and incentivise the private sector to commit their funds in support of the SDGs.
He stated: “To catalyse resources from the private sector, the government must support the private sector by fixing the infrastructure, and provide tax holiday for them to flourish.
“There is need for private sector to also mobile resources in sub-nationals levels, which they are already doing in their various host communities.”
Clear cut strategies
Another panelist, the Managing Director, of The Aliko Dangote Foundation, Zouera Youssoufou, said, “We need clear-cut strategies to ensure that SDGs are proactively implemented towards achieving the set target.
“Malnutrition is more in the North, different people have different peculiarity and problems, even different with the way they approach issues.
“If we are working on nutrition we should allow resources to be channeled to where they are needed most.
The problems of malnutrition is similar across the country, we have to address insurgency in the North and other forms.of challenges to tackle the menace.”
Besides these, she said “we need to address cultural barriers, inequality, and cultural insensitivities across different cultures and religion. We must begin to solve the problem as a nation rather than differences we have on the margins.”
For the panelists, SDGs must be looked at as a whole rather than as part of a whole.
They also called on the government to strengthen the data systems using digital technology to make the implementation seamless.
Recall that the Federal government has in 2022 launched the SDGs Integrated Public Finance with a target of raising $10billion annually for implementation of the goals.
We must cut wastage — Obaseki
Speaking as a panelist during a plenary on Reinventing Government: Digitalisation of Public Institutions, at the 29th Nigerian Economic Summit, in Abuja, yesterday, Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, said there is too much wastage in government, especially at the federal level and unless we cut the wastage, we will be in a deeper trouble,
The governor advocated a digitalisation of government processes in order to ensure transparency and reduce cost.
His words, “We need to reinvent government. You can’t reinvent government unless you do digitalisation and open up. We have no option. We have to be efficient.
“We have to be efficient to support production. Especially at the federal government level; the waste is too much and unless we change, we will be in trouble, in fact, we are already in trouble, if we don’t change, we will be in deeper trouble.”
Obaseki who shared his Edo State e-governance experience at the event said that digitalisation of government required the political will and commitment of the political leaders because of resistance from civil servants.
He said that sometimes even when the political leader had a well-thought-out noble policy, getting civil servants to implement same was a challenge and in his case, he had to insist. Until the digitalisation exercise in Edo State, the governor said that civil servants, public office holders, and the executive operated in silos but that the story has now changed.
Also speaking as a panelist, the Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Folashade Yemi-Esan, said that her office had been fully digitalised in a move to digitalise the entire federal civil service.
According to her, “Digitalisation of the Civil Service is what the Office of the Head of Service is Championing. We have the first phase of the digitalisation of the federal civil service which the OHSF being the pilot.
“What we did was to develop a Standard Operating Procedure, because you cannot build processes on nothing.
“Currently all the files in the OHSF have been archived. So now, no file can get missing. The OHSF is currently paperless.”
The Head of Service said that the Digitalisation of her Office has reached a level where it could now stop receiving paper memos from citizens and that indeed, it would soon announce a deadline after which it would no longer accept papers from Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the government.
Yemi-Esan said that her Office was working with the Galaxy Backbone and the Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy to implement the digitalisation of federal government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs.
To drive the process, the HoS said that there was a plan for a framework in which each minister gives quarterly reports to the President on the progress of the digitalisation programme in their ministries.
In his remarks, the Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani, said that contrary to the perception that government was hesitant about digitalisation, the gap was often created by private sector companies that dump solutions on the government.
He said, “It is not a technology challenge but a solutions challenge. We need solutions that recognise the peculiarities of the people. We have to re-examine why technology is not working for our governments.”
In his contribution, the Managing Director of Africa Operations, Inlaks Ltd, Mr. Kyari Bukar, expressed concern that the bulk of the investment funds into the sector in Nigeria was coming from abroad.
He therefore called local resource mobilisation for investment in the technology industry from local sources.
Bukar also challenged Nigerian tech expert on the need to both local hard and soft infrastructures to advance technology in the country.