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North East: Donors pledge $2 bn to implement humanitarian activities – Udoma

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Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma, Minister of Budget and National Planning says the Federal Government received a pledge of over two billion dollars from donors for the implementation of humanitarian activities in the North East.

Udoma said this at an end of tenure media conference on Tuesday in Abuja.

He said that the ministry had been coordinating various humanitarian efforts in the North East through the Inter- Ministerial Task Force on Rehabilitation of the region.

“ A recent example of our coordinating activity was with respect to the Oslo Conference.

“Last year (2018), the Ministry, in conjunction with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, coordinated Nigeria’s participation at the 2018 Oslo II Conference in Berlin, Germany.

“We were also involved in the organisation of the Oslo 1 Conference the year (2017) before.

“The Conference was intended to, among other objectives, harness strategic partnerships and multi-stakeholder cooperation around humanitarian action in the Lake Chad region.

“ Over two billion dollars was pledged for 2018 and beyond to implement activities in the region.’’

He said the ministry in January this year in collaboration with the UN office launched the 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) and 2019 – 2021 Strategy for the North East.

He said the aim of the HRP was to provide lasting solutions to challenges in planning and response to large-scale needs for humanitarian assistance for the most vulnerable group in insurgency affected States.

He further said the 2019 – 2021 Strategy targeted saving lives by providing timely and integrated multi-sector assistance and protection interventions to the most vulnerable.

Udoma said the Federal Government in efforts to reduce the level of poverty and socio-economic vulnerability, set aside in every annual budget the sum of N500 billion to be dedicated to the Social Investment Programmes (SIP).

He said the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), Home-Grown School Feeding, N-Power Job Creation and Government Economic Empowerment Programmes were being coordinated by the ministry.

The minister said the programme commenced with the 2016 Budget.

“In order to ensure smooth implementation of the programme, the Ministry of Budget and National Planning was mandated to serve as the Accounting MDA for the programme.

“ All financial transactions in the implementation of the programme including Conditional Cash Transfer, Home-Grown School Feeding, N-Power job creation programmes are being supported by the ministry.

“And, as at March 2019, 1,707,932 loans have been successfully disbursed under the Government Enterprise & Empowerment Programme (GEEP), with 1,374,192 of the loans given under the TraderMoni scheme.

“ Also, 330,568 loans were for MarketMoni and 1,172 for FarmerMoni.’’

The minister said over 9.5 million school children was currently being fed each day in 52,604 schools across 30 states under the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme.

He said the programme also provided direct jobs to 101,913 catering staff engaged under the scheme while 297,973 poor Nigerians across 20 States, had benefited from the N5,000 Conditional Cash Transfer Scheme.

Also, the minister said 3,517 community facilitators had been trained while 500,000 graduates were benefiting from the N-Power programme and are paid N30,000 monthly.

According to him, 20,000 non-graduates in the N-Build category were either currently in training or serving as interns.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Ministry of Budget and National Planning was created by President Muhammadu Buhari in November, 2015 through a merger of the erstwhile National Planning Commission with the Budget Office of the Federation.

The merger was to ensure a strong link between planning and budgeting.

Edited by Lydia Beshel

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