Debt Relief Savings, Inadequate for MDGs

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Ms. Amina Mohammed, United Nations (UN) Secretary General on Post-2015 Development Planning

The Special Adviser to the United Nations (UN) Secretary General on Post-2015 Development Planning, Ms. Amina Mohammed, has said the total accrual of $1 billion annually from the debt relief savings (DRS) granted the federal government by the Paris Club from 2006 will not be enough to meet the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Mohammed was a former Special Assistant on MDGs to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, his immediate successor, late Umaru Yar’Adua and President Goodluck Jonathan.

Speaking in an interview with THISDAY in Abuja, she said the main plank of the government then was to devote savings towards poverty alleviation, adding: “I think the first thing that we did was to even say that we would dedicate resources towards the poor.

“Let’s not underestimate the commitment by former president Obasanjo, then, that he was taking the debt relief headed by Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, then Minister of Finance. I think that was a big commitment.”

However, Mohammed said government on one hand, had viewed the DRS as additional funds, knowing that the money from it was not enough to achieve the MDGs goals.

On the success recorded with the savings, she said: “Our success was that we increased immunisation by adding to the immunisation, going beyond campaigns and talking about routine immunisation.

“And I think that if you look at the trajectory of the coverage routine immunisation, it had improved and you can see where we reduced indices of child mortality because of that, though it is not there yet, but it is in the right direction.”

Another area, where we invested and really gained, she added, was in the area on maternal mortality.

When asked to disclose how much accrued to the federal government during her tenure as Special Assistant on MDGs, she added: “Well I don’t have the exact figure in front of me, but what we do know is that we gained $1billion annually right up to 2015. And we decided to take this right as it goes to the MDGs. But what you need to understand is that out of the $1billion, about $750 million accrued to the federal government while the balance was for states.”

Source: This Day

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