By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba has underscored the need for donor agencies and development partners in the country to cooperate with Government in its effort to streamline their support to the country.
Prince Agba said the cooperation by the donors and development partners would help to align their support to the country’s priority areas and make for better coordination of their activities and programmes in the country.
He spoke while playing host to a delegation from the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) led by its Representative to ECOWAS and Regional Director, Nigeria Hub Office, Mr Jean Bakole in Abuja on Tuesday.
The Minister explained that the ministry, by virtue of its mandate, “coordinates the relationship between the country and our development partners, in terms of bilateral and multilateral co-operations”, adding that the coordination was central to donors’ assistance in the Country.
He commended UNIDO for its new 5-year Country Partnership Programme (2018-2022) signed in November 2018, which is designed to address nine critical areas of Nigeria’s development.
He said that the sectors were aligned to the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (EGRP) and Vision 2020 plans.
The Minister urged UNIDO to ensure that “it works closely with relevant stakeholders to ensure the smooth implementation of the Country Programme”, adding that he believed that such partnership would complement Government’s Economic programmes aimed at diversifying revenue generation and employment creation, which were key to the administration’s policies.
He further pledged Government’s commitment to the Country Partnership agreement signed with UNIDO and assured that Government would do its best to fulfill its part of the agreement by contributing her counterpart fund.
The UNIDO Representative to the ECOWAS and Regional Director, Nigeria Hub Office, Mr Bakole expressed gratitude to the Nigerian Government for its strong commitment and support to UNIDO’s activities and multilateralism in Africa.
According to him, “I don’t know of any other Country in Africa that is committed to Multilateralism as Nigeria. Nigeria is one of the few countries that ensures its yearly contribution without delay.”
The UNIDO representative explained that “Nigeria’s development is critical to growth and development of Africa”, adding that “UNIDO has designed the new Country Partnership Programme in line with the Country’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and the Vision 2020 aimed at addressing the Country’s economic challenges.”
He said that the new UNIDO-Nigeria Country Programme was designed in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s policy of industrialisation, pointing out that “there is no way we can move forward without industrialization.”
According to a statement by the ministry’s Director of Information Mrs Victoria Agba-Attah on Wednesday, Bakole named nine critical areas which the new programmes intend to intervene.
They include, Industrial Governance Status policy; Agro -Allied initiatives; Special Economic Zones an Industrial Parks; Development of MSMES; Trade Capacity Building aimed at fully utilizing the AFCTA; Energy, particularly renewable Energy; Environment; Metal and Mineral Development; and, Science Innovation and Technology.