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Nigeria closing SDGs funding gaps, says Finance Minister

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The Federal Government has said that it is deploying measures aimed at closing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) funding gap in Nigeria.

Speaking at the SDG Investor Maps Facilitation of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab S. Ahmed, stated that successful implementation of Nigeria’s sustainable development agenda requires innovative financing, meaningful private sector engagement, and the strategic deployment of development funds.

She said “This is especially true given the challenging fiscal space and increasingly low domestic revenues post-COVID-19.

“It is critical that we work to proactively close the SDG funding gap, in part through meaningful private sector engagement and through ongoing reforms, aimed at enabling the business environment, creating the right fiscal space for investments, and supporting the diversification away from oil and gas.”

On the need for collaboration, the minister stated that the private sector must be better positioned to invest in and support the SDGs.

“There is clear private sector interest and readiness to invest in bankable SDG-aligned investment opportunities.

Tools such as the SDG Investor Maps, therefore, ensure that investors are empowered with accurate, country-specific information regarding investment opportunity areas,” she added.

On the interventions the government is rolling out to sustain development, she said through the implementation of Finance Bill 2020, the government is providing tax relief and other support to Micro Small And Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

Specific interventions, according to her, include the Finance Bill 2020, which has been drafted in line with the President’s commitment to introduce annual financial bills.

The Bill, in her words, “will support the realisation of our 2021 revenue projections; adopt appropriate counter-cyclical fiscal policies; and enhance the efficiency of fiscal incentives to support the 2021 ‘Budget of Economic Recovery and Resilience’.

On addressing the financing gap, Mrs. Ahmed said: “We continue to be at a critical crossroads when it comes to addressing the financing gap for implementing the SDGs,” hoping to use the event to help mobilise sustainable private sector financing and create the necessary space for policy dialogue and change.

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Speaking further, she said that the country would be better positioned to grow better, sustainably, and more inclusively as it ensures collective achievement of the SDGs, through the strategic use of tools such as Nigeria’s Integrated National Financing Framework (NIFF) and the SDG Maps.

The UNDP’s innovative SDG impact initiative, was specifically a programme for developing the SDG investor maps tool aimed at mapping and making available to a range of market-specific country-level investor opportunities to fund the SDGs.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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