President Buhari’s Address on SDGs at Margins of the UN 74th Session

It is my pleasure to be here with you to deliver this Keynote Address at this strategic High Level Event on the margins of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. Let me join others in thanking all individuals and institutions that have worked so hard to make this event a success.

Excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, it is exactly four years since I joined other World Leaders during the 70th Session of the UNGA to adopt the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, we set for ourselves ambitious goal of seeing an economically sustainable, socially inclusive and environmentally resilient world. For Nigeria, and indeed Africa as a whole, the achievement of the SDGs will mean ending poverty and hunger, safeguarding our ecosystem and ensuring that our people live in peace and prosperity by the year 2030.

It is for this reason that our government acted quickly in the implementation of the SDGs by establishing the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on the SDGs in January 2016. The Office is charged with the responsibility for strategic planning; horizontal and vertical inter-governmental coordination; multi-stakeholders’ partnership and resource mobilization. It is also mandated to lead robust advocacy and communications for the SDGs in Nigeria.

Excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I am aware from Official Statistics that approximately 54 percent of Nigerians live below the poverty line as defined by World Bank. It is pertinent to state that reducing extreme poverty and hunger is one of the cardinal objectives of our administration.

It is for this reason that in May this year, we committed ourselves to lifting approximately 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within a 10-year period. This is a national development priority and in line with the aspirations of the SDGs. We have since established an ambitious National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) targeting the poor and vulnerable members of the Nigerian population.

Through the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP), we are tackling and addressing the root causes of poverty in all its manifestations. For example, the Home Grown School Feeding Programme (HGSF) component is feeding almost 10 Million school pupils daily and empowering over 90, 000 local catering staff across the country.

The Conditional Cash Transfer Component, is reaching out to approximately 300, 000 poor and vulnerable households across the country. The Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme component has provided over a million loans to petty traders and small entrepreneurs across the country.

Similarly, the N-Power Programme, a youth employability and enhancement programme, has empowered 500,000 youths between the ages of 18-35 with the needed skills for the job market over a 2-year period.

As a government, we have since recognized that to achieve the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, we must scientifically understand our implementation context; carefully formulate policies and programmes; and judiciously apply human and financial resources. These cannot be achieved with ad-hoc planning.

Economic, social and environmental dimensions of the SDGs were integrated into our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017-2020. But this is only a Medium-term Plan designed to restore economic growth following the recession in 2016.

It was our genuine desire for scientific planning and implementation of the SDGs that made Nigeria to commence the process of domestication and customization of the Integrated Sustainable Development Goals Model in 2017.

The Nigeria iSDG Model, the Report of which we will officially launch today, will serve as a framework for robust, fact-based policy analysis, planning and implementation at all levels of government. It is expected to be used as a planning tool to complement existing ones currently in use at the national, sectoral and sub-national levels.

The domestication process was led by the then Ministry of Budget and National Planning, and the Nigeria iSDG planning Model is now domiciled in the recently restructured Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning for policy coherence and sustainability. Going forward, we expect policymakers and planners to judiciously utilise this model to guide our efforts towards the achievement of the SDGs and other Internationally Agreed Development Goals.

I would like finally to commend the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for the strategic collaboration in the development and successful formulation of the Nigeria iSDG Simulation Model.

My appreciation also goes to all the resource persons for their invaluable contributions in the domestication of the model for Nigeria. I look forward to seeing the 36 states and the FCT customize this planning tool at the state level.

I thank you for your kind attention.

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