- Prince Clem Ikanade Agba
REMARKS BY THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OF STATE FOR BUDGET AND NATIONAL PLANNING, PRINCE CLEM IKANADE AGBA, ON THE SGD IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS IN NIGERIA AT THE NIGERIA HIGH LEVEL SIDE EVENT ON THE MARGINS OF THE 74TH UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY (UNGA)HELD IN NEW YORK, USA ON TUESDAY, 24TH SEPTEMBER, 2019
▪ Your Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria
▪ Excellencies, Heads of State and government
▪ Excellencies, the Executive Governors here present…
▪ My Sister, Amina Mohammed, DSG-UN
Distinguished guests please permit me to stand on existing protocol due to time constraint.
- Let me specially appreciate our President, His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR for the leadership and guidance he provides to us as his cabinet Ministers. It is indeed a great pleasure to be here today and to see that what was conceptualized just two years ago, when my dear sister, Mrs Zainab S. Ahmed was the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, has now seen the light of the day. This was borne out of the well-thought out desire to domesticate and customize the Integrated SDGs Simulation Model to our own peculiar context.
- We are gathered at this side event of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to affirm the domestication of the integrated Sustainable Development Goals (iSDGs) simulation model in Nigeria, a feat many countries in the UN family and indeed globally, are yet to achieve. This measure of success could not have been achieved without the firm support of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR. We thank you, Your Excellency.
- In March 2017, Nigeria took a bold step on the journey to domesticating the iSDGs simulation model with the engagement of the Millennium Institute (MI), Washington, United States and the support of the United Nations Development Programme, Nigeria office. Our idea and strategy for domestication of the Model was to build local capacity by exposing the staff of key relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) whose activities fall within the 17 SDGs to the use and operationalisation of the Model. However, this was achieved only when the iSDGs simulation model had been customised to Nigeria’s unique peculiarities through the technical assistance from the Millennium Institute.
- At the beginning of the domestication process in 2017, the model was anchored at the Nigeria’s Budget Office. It is gladdening that we now have the Model housed in the restructured Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning. So as a Ministry, we will like to reaffirm our commitment to judiciously utilise this planning tool, along with other existing tools, as we aim to revert to our well-known tradition of long-term National Development Planning.
- Presently, Government is in the process of developing a successor plan to the Nigeria Vision 20: 2020 and the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017 – 2020 as both would terminate in December, 2020. The iSDGs domestication is therefore very timely as it will also be used alongside other models to determine the size and scope of programmes and projects in the plan. In furtherance of this, we have already integrated the main areas of concerns to the SDGs in the implementation of the ERGP and the next level effort is to mainstream the 17 SDGs in the Medium and Long-term plans that are in the pipeline. The essence is to ensure that full attention is given to the implementation of the SDGs programmes and projects in the course of implementing the plans.
- Nigeria has a very unique system with 36 States and Federal Capital Territory and 774 Local Government Area Councils. Therefore, the domestication of the model to the sub-national levels of government would be hastened up to ensure that their SDGs programmes and projects are properly fed into the National Development Plan. This we note would come with a huge cost in view of the size of the population and land mass. We therefore solicit the cooperation and support of Development Partners to facilitate early coverage.
- We are also concerned with not just domestication of the model but the sustainability of the domestication. There is therefore the need to build institutional capacity to train Nigerians locally on system dynamics. To this end, it would be a positive effort for international agencies to partner with Nigerian local institutions to mount short term programmes on the fundamentals of system dynamics and other related excel-based models so as to continually build the capacity of the MDAs and other private sector organisations that need such skills in the future. Efforts would also be made to train the staff of the Macroeconomic Analysis Department on System Dynamics/iSDGs simulation model to equip them for the usage of the model for the preparation of development plans and subsequent building of the capacity of sub-national governments.
- The report of the domestication of the model has revealed the likely level of attainment of the SDGs using particularly the present ERGP policies and the ERGP + SDGs policies. One important take away in the report is that there are certain goals that were not attained in the simulation even if we were to commit all our resources to it without taking note of issues of diminishing returns setting in, structural matters and the complementary nature of the goals to each other. This exposure would strategically strengthen our resolve to address critical issues to national development beyond financing.
- The issue of data has been highlighted in the report. In this regards, all data-producing and generating agencies would be galvanized to address the challenges posed by the lack of quality data. The issue of State GDP figures would also be tackled as it was evident in the report that the model would be unable to run or produce robust results without GDP figures and adequate data.
- Finally, let me restate that our support for the achievement of the SDGs is rock solid and I would like to congratulate the SDG Office, the UNDP and all individuals that have contributed to the iSDGs domestication and customization process in Nigeria.