• Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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FG, CSOs inaugurate technical group to monitor economic intervention for women

Reps urge FG to increase education budget from 2022   James Kwen, Abuja   The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning to give further considerations to Education in the subsequent budgetary allocations, beginning from 2022 in order to attain the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) projection by 2030.   According to UNESCO, for a nation to achieve the goal of providing quality education for all by 2030, the country would have to allocate at least 26 percent of its national budget to education.   However, Nigeria’s budgetary allocation for Education in the last five years is 7.38% in 2017, 7.03% in 2018, 7.05% in 2019, 6.7% in 2020 and 5.6% in 2021, a far cry from the expected standards.   It is based on this premise that the House called for Federal Government consideration on Tuesday while adopting a motion on; “Urgent Need to Address the Falling Standard of Education in Nigeria” moved by Johnson Ganiyu from Lagos.   Moving the motion, Ganiyu noted that quality education is a crucial tool for the economic growth of any country, thus Goal 4 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is focused on ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting life-long learning opportunities for all.   He also noted that Section 18 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) provides that the Government shall direct its policy towards ensuring that there are equal and adequate educational opportunities at all levels.   The lawmaker said he was: “Aware that Nigeria’s education system within the last decade has been on a steady decline, ranging from influx of illegal institutions of learning as well as unqualified teachers in the system to poor funding, overcrowding and plethora of decaying infrastructure in schools across the Federation.    “Also aware that according to the United Nations, Nigeria has one of the largest populations of out-of-school youth in the world, with more than ten million Nigerian children, 60 per cent of them girls, not in school and will therefore not have the skills they need to get jobs and build secured and stable future.   Ganiyu acknowledged that Nigeria has achieved some progress in expanding access to school under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the domestic Universal Basic Education (UBE) Scheme, however, the expansion has not resulted in improved learning, as the flat learning curve in Nigeria is a proof that getting children to school does not automatically translate to adequate infrastructure, qualified teachers, conducive learning environment, frequent attendance, grade progression, effective classroom governance and more importantly, learning.   He expressed concern that the adverse effects of falling standard of Education to a nation is very grave, and the fall in educational standard in Nigeria implies a continued decline in its level of economic growth.   The lawmaker also expressed concern that with the current population of about 200 million, 45 per cent of which are below 15 years, there is high demand for learning opportunities translating into increased enrolment which has created challenges in ensuring quality education since resources are spread more thinly.   Ganiyu was worried that the burden on education in Nigeria has become even more overwhelming, resulting in more than 100 pupils to one teacher as against the UNESCO benchmark of 35 pupils per teacher; culminating in students learning under trees for lack of classrooms and other harsh conditions.  He said if no urgent action is taken, the problem will gravely affect the young and future generations as well as stifle the economic and social developmental prospects of the country.

The federal government on Tuesday inaugurated a Technical Working Group to track, monitor and ensure accountability in the implementation of policies and budget allocation targeting women’s economic empowerment (WEE).

The Ministry of Budget and National Planning, in collaboration with the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, and the Development Research (dRPC) and Projects Centre inaugurated the group which comprises Monitoring and Evaluation Officers from 10 ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).

Plangsat Dayil, consultant, dRCP project and director, centre for gender women studies, speaking at the event decried that government has lots of policies that ought to improve the lots of women economically, but the impact is not being felt.

She added that these policies do not have specific targets for women which gives room for exclusion. According to her, there are still lots of gaps in the empowerment of women across the country.

“If you read through government policies, you will not see specific issues targeted at women or people with disability. Most of these policies are just blankets and that gives room for a lot of exclusion.

“In the past, there are no group monitoring these things, you can have pockets of civil societies that are not coordinated, but, we are bringing in a collective of all women organisations who are into business, entrepreneurship at the national and state level to ensure that government is actually doing what they said they are doing”, she said.

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Dayil said the TWG is working with the ministry of budget and planning to track the percentage of women that have benefitted in all economic policies and projects from CBN and many other organisations.

She also informed that the TWG will monitor how many women are benefitting in terms of number and if the projects meet the desired impact.

The Director-General of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Brigadier CJ Udaya, represented by Nasirdeen Usman, disclosed that the TWG is to support the accountability process of the piloting of the application of the Monitoring & Evaluation framework on WEE programs in Nigeria.

According to him, NIPSS is partnering with the Budget Office and the Development Research and Projects Centre to support the accountability component of the development and implementation of the pilot M&E framework to track and rate women’s economic empowerment project/policies/interventions at the national and sub-national level.

He also described WEE as a strong policy of the federal government that must be translated into action by the TWG.

Nasirdeeen added that the TWG would also support NIPSS, FMFBNP & dRPC WEE outreach and engagement activities; submit reports of its activities to NIPSS, FMFBNP & dRPC WEE at regular intervals; and carry out other ad hoc duties as requested by NIPSS, FMFBNP & the dRPC.

While urging the 20 committee members drawn from the Federal Ministry of Budget, Agriculture, CBN, and other MDAs, to work hard to promote transparency in the implementation of women’s economic empowerment in the country, Nasirdeen said the nation stands to solve its economic challenges when women’s economic empowerment are given the required attention.

‘With 44.82 percent of the labour force in Nigeria, empowering this segment of our population is not the only key to achieving economic independence, but it is also critical in sustaining the nation’s overall economic development’ he said

In his remarks at the occasion, the director monitoring and evaluation, Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Zakari Lawal, while stressing the need to strengthen monitoring and evaluation of women’s economy in the country, he said the federal government is determined to set in mechanisms to promote transparency in the allocation and implementation of policies in the country.

The event was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, under the Partnership for Advancing Women’s Economic Development, PAWED.