THE Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Bill Medlinda Gates Foundation on Thursday in Abuja, announced a new partnership, which they said was aimed at strengthening cross-state policies in Nigeria.
The policies, it was stated, would also strengthen financial resources that they said would benefit the poorest people in the country.
Chief Strategy Officer at the Gates Foundation, Mr. Mark Suzman, made the announcement at a press briefing.
He said the three-year $2m partnership will focus on domestic revenue challenge, with the aim of strengthening public financing for social programmes that Suzman said would benefit the poor.
The fund, he added, would also afford the NGF and the Gates Foundation to develop a road map for future collaboration in strengthening Primary Health Care in Nigeria that would unlock funding dedicated to the work.
Suzman said, “The Gates Foundation recognises how critical state leadership is to development in Nigeria.
“This is because two-thirds of social spending in Nigeria occurs at the sub national information exchange, collaboration on policy, and the work of executive governors in determining how best to ensure Federal and state policies work for Nigeria’s poorest.”
He told the gathering, which included governors, that Gates Foundation and NGF had previously partnered together on polio eradication in Nigeria, with notable success.
He said that there were still works to be done to finish the job on polio, and that the NGF was a critical partner in maintaining the country’s commitment to polio eradication.
Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, who spoke on behalf of the governors, assured the donors that the fund would be judiciously used.
He said he and his colleagues were happy that the NGF found worthy partners in the two organisations.
In his own remarks, the Director-General of the NGF, Mr. Asishana Okauru, noted that polio re-emerged in Nigeria this past summer after the country had been declared polio-free in 2015.
He attributed this to the occupation of a few local government areas in Borno State in North-East by some insurgents.