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FG mulls fiscal incentives for more private sector investment in education

FG imposes 30% tariffs on wine, spirit, cigarette

The federal government plans to create fiscal incentives to boost private sector investments in the education sector.

Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, budget and national planning announced this weekend at the summit Girl Child NOW: Nurturing our Women – Nigeria’s own Wealth, organised by Emergency Coordination Center in Abuja.

The ‘NOW’ Summit brought together leaders, donors, policy makers, change makers, community representatives to devise transformative approaches to supporting girls and women.

Ahmed said as the minister of finance, budget and national planning, she was committed to ensuring that the resources are put in place to support those investments in the education, health and development of Nigerian women and girls.

“This requires a multifaceted approach that leverages both public and private sector resources, as well as the expertise and engagement of all stakeholders,” she said.

“By fostering a supportive and inclusive environment for women and girls, we can breakdown the barriers that prevent them from realising their full potential.”

She said with an understanding of the importance of providing female role models and mentors, that she was proud to be in a position to aspire and empower other women to pursue leadership positions and make a positive impact on society.

“I am committed to working with all of you to secure the resources necessary to ensure that our women and girls have access to safe, quality, gender-conscious transformative education,” Ahmed added.

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She pleaded for collaborations to ensure that the Nigerian women have the tools they need to succeed and contribute to the advancement of our nation.

The minister said the education, health, and security of the girl child is of utmost importance, and it is imperative for all stakeholders to take a transformative approach to gender-conscious education.

The minister recalled that since President Buhari signed the safe schools declaration in December 2019, and the finance ministry has been proactive in staging stakeholder engagements on financing safe schools and creating safe learning environments.

She however regretted that the recent increased attacks on educational institutions has made it imperative for a holistic national plan, with inputs from states and key relevant sectors, to create a safe leaning environment in Nigeria.

She called for initiatives across agencies, states, NGOs, and donor partners to be harmonized to achieve maximal desired results.

“The private sector is also committing to playing a key role, under the private sector advisory group of the SDG, via adoption of schools and spending as much as 100 million NGN for the provision of security, a good learning environment, and necessary tools for improved learning,” the minister said.

“And let’s be clear, investing in girls and women is not only a moral obligation, but also a smart investment. Studies have shown that when girls and women are empowered, they drive economic growth and development, contributing to a better future for all,” she stressed.

The Minister for Women Affairs Minister and Social Development, Pauline Tallen, who also spoke at the event, said however, that the country has recorded major successes in the domestication of the Child Rights Act, particularly in the Northeast among other achievements.

The Resident Representative United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Nigeria, Ulla Mueller, noted the federal government’s tremendous work in addressing the hitherto high numbers of children that were out-of-school.

She said the girl-child has become an important partnership for UNFPA, adding that it would continue to support the reproductive health of Nigerian girls and help to end gender-based violence as well as boost access to reproductive commodities in the country.

“I think the political awareness is there, the commitment is there and at UNFPA, we are very happy to see that,” Mueller stated, despite the security challenges which slowed efforts around the girl-child.