Menu

0903-1351-333

info@oradi.org

ORADI

SDGs Monitor (Jan - Mar, 2018)

posted on December 30, 2017 by ORADI posted in SDGs Monitor

In this maiden issue of SDGs Monitor, we assess Nigeria's readiness and preparation for implementing the SDGs in general. In particular, we explore the status of seven selected SDGs whose implementation we intend to follow closely in the first four issues of SDGs Monitor. The selected SDGs are:
  • No Poverty (SDG#1)
  • Quality Education (SDG#4)
  • Gender Equality (SDG#5)
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG#8)
  • Reduced Inequality (SDG#10)
  • Climate Action (SDG #13)
  • Peace, Justice and Strong Institution (SDG#16)

    read the rest

SDGs Monitor (Jul - Sep, 2017)

posted on July 01, 2017 by ORADI posted in SDGs Monitor

In this maiden issue of SDGs Monitor, we assess Nigeria's readiness and preparation for implementing the SDGs in general. In particular, we explore the status of seven selected SDGs whose implementation we intend to follow closely in the first four issues of SDGs Monitor. The selected SDGs are:
  • No Poverty (SDG#1)
  • Quality Education (SDG#4)
  • Gender Equality (SDG#5)
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG#8)
  • Reduced Inequality (SDG#10)
  • Climate Action (SDG #13)
  • Peace, Justice and Strong Institution (SDG#16)

    read the rest

Letter from the Publisher: Announcing SDGs Monitor

posted on June 29, 2017 by ORADI posted in SDGs Monitor

In this maiden issue of SDGs Monitor, we assess Nigeria's readiness and preparation for implementing the SDGs in general. In particular, we explore the status of seven selected SDGs whose implementation we intend to follow closely in the first four issues of SDGs Monitor. The selected SDGs are:

  • No Poverty (SDG#1)
  • Quality Education (SDG#4)
  • Gender Equality (SDG#5)
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG#8)
  • Reduced Inequality (SDG#10)
  • Climate Action (SDG #13)
  • Peace, Justice and Strong Institution (SDG#16)


We also showcase our very first star interview, a feature that will constitute a prominent and regular slice of the SDGs Monitor Magazine. The trailblazer presented is Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, former Deputy-Governor of the great Lagos State during the administration of Babatunde Fashola, who is currently the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Team SDGs Monitor will research and produce an engaging quarterly publication that zealously investigates and displays what the government is doing to implement the SDGs in Nigeria. We will be beaming our light on Federal and State governments, and to reach into some of the often unseen corners, but always in a responsible and objective manner. We hope that you will find so much to enjoy and to inform you in every issue.

Thank you for your anticipated support and you can click here to download the soft copy of the magazine.

 

SDGs Monitor Magazine Online Version
Ebere Onwudiwe
Publisher & Editorial Director
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

read the rest

SDGs Monitor No Poverty Quality Education Gender Equality Decent Work and Economic Growth

Cover Interview We're Fast-tracking SDGs Implementation in Nigeria – Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire

posted on June 29, 2017 by ORADI posted in SDGs Monitor

Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (SSAP-SDGs) is a thoroughbred administrator, social worker and politician imbued with the passion for dedicated service to humanity. Before her appointment as SSAP-SDGs in 2016, she had served diligently as Deputy Governor of Lagos State between the 2011 and 2015. She had also served as Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation in Lagos State and effectively used her position to tackle an array of issues under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that included slashing poverty, hunger, disease and gender inequality.

read the rest

SDGs Monitor Poverty Reduction United Nations

SDG #4: Quality Education Goal: The Problems and Prospects

posted on June 29, 2017 by ORADI posted in SDGs Monitor

There is little doubt that the failure of countries like Nigeria to attain real appreciable progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was what led to the adoption of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGAS) in New York on September 25, 2015.

It is remarkable that Sustainable Goal four specifically encourages all UN-member countries, including Nigeria to "ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all" by 2030.

Long before the adoption of the SDGs in 2015, Nigeria's educational system had variously been rated poor by many analysts. In a discussion with his students in the early 2000s, Abdulkadir Nauzo, a lecturer in the Department of English Language at the University of Abuja, argued that contrary to what many people think, the standard of education in Nigeria had not fallen as there is only one excellent standard. What had gone bad were things that ought to sustain that standard. One of these is facilities, many of which, as at the early 2000s, were moribund in many tertiary institutions, secondary and primary schools across the country. It was so bad that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) embarked on a six-month strike to protest, among other matters of concern, the poor state of education in Nigeria's universities. Clearly, little was achieved by the strike, as 12 years later, ASUU again called its members out on strike to protest what it called "the abysmal state of Nigerian universities."In embarking on the fresh strike, ASUU said that the Federal Government had failed to honour the agreement on improving the university system that it had reached with the union in 2009. The strike also lasted six months and in order to resolve it, the Goodluck Jonathan administration agreed to release the sum of N200 billion per annum to be disbursed to Nigerian Universities over a five-year period.  But issues surrounding the 2009 agreement remain unresolved, and ASUU has again threatened to go on strike.  Nor is ASUU the only body to do so, as associations of Polytechnic and College of Education lecturers had also embarked on strike action over the government's failed promises or breaches of contract.

In late January this year, Dr Chika Ogonwa, National Coordinator of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) in the South-south and South-east geo-political zones, ascribed the 'warning strike' that ASUP had embarked upon on the insensitivity of the government.  He said that the strike was meant to draw attention to the terrible state of the sector and save it:

"... from total collapse [caused by] poor funding, discriminatory practices, decayed infrastructure, weak and obsolete legal and regulatory regimes, wanton and wilful breach of agreements as well as serial and sustained cases of impunity in the sector."

A month before that, College of Education lecturers in the country had also downed tools to protest the non-payment of their salaries for eight months.

On most occasions when tertiary education lecturers embark on strike action, part of government's strategy has been to initiate conciliatory moves while pledging to better fund the sector or address the challenges at some later date.

Perhaps in an attempt to be proactive and avoid another strike by university lecturers, on the 13th of February 2017, the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, inaugurated "a 14-man team to re-negotiate the 2009 Agreement reached between the Federal Government and University-based Staff Unions."  The Minister said that:

"[The] inauguration marks the beginning of a drive for re-negotiation across the three segments of the tertiary education sub-sector; Universities, Colleges of Education and Polytechnics, starting with those of Universities."

biodun oAt the ceremony, while thanking the Federal Government for revisiting the issue, ASUU President Professor Biodun Ogunyemi expressed the hope that the exercise would not be aborted midstream like others before it. That was a reminder of the inconsistency that has plagued Nigeria's education system as regards government policies and implementation over the years.

A few months before that, the Vanguard newspaper report headlined: "Buhari's 2017 education budget: We are still in shock – ASUU" contained the news that President Buhari had:

"... released the 2017 budget of N7.298 trillion with the Ministry of Education expected to gulp N398.01billion in recurrent expenditure...under capital expenditure, it was stated in the budget that the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) will get N92 billion and Education N50 billion. On the whole, a total of N540.01billion will be expended on education sector in 2017. Basically, the Federal Ministry of Education is expected to adequately cater for the 36 federal universities, 25 federal polytechnics, 22 federal colleges of education and 104 federal unity schools. In 2016, the education sector which got N369.6billion from a total national budget of N6.07trillionwas described as still the lowest since 2012. Thus, from N306.3billion in 2011, it moved to N400.15billion in 2012, to N426.53billion in 2013, to N493billion in 2014, to N492billion in 2015, to N369billion in 2016."

With statistics like this, Nigeria is far from achieving the UN's 26per cent budget recommendation for education.

Rescue agencies

The 2009 Federal Government-ASUU agreement and expected funding therefrom was for universities alone, but at the tertiary level there are also polytechnics and colleges of education.  The funding for all three sets of institutions is done through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).  According to A.B. Baffa, Executive Secretary of TETFund, quoted in an official report released by the agency, TETFund had N213,418,124,493.75 for its 2016 budget. This sum was to be shared among the different institutions, with each of the 40 Federal universities and 34 State universities receiving N1,009,410,000.00. Each of the 54 public polytechnics would get N691,632,000.00, while each of the 55 public colleges of education would receive N679,057,000.00.  Baffa described the 2016 budget as the "the biggest ever annual direct disbursement (normal intervention) given to any beneficiary institution since the establishment of the Fund."

TETFund's 2016 budget was disbursed under the following terms:

1.            Annual direct disbursements:  N149,392,687,145.63.

2.            High Impact Phase VI: N30,000,000,000.00.

3.            Zonal interventions: N12,000,000,000.00.

4.            Stabilization Fund: N10,670,906,224.69.

5.            Designated projects: N5,400,000,000.00.

6.            National Research Fund: N1,000,000,000.00

Generally, the funds were meant to:

"... accelerate the training and support for scholars in Nigeria's tertiary education institutions to pursue and acquire doctorate degrees; accelerate the process of bridging the teaching and learning infrastructure gap in all beneficiary institutions; and continue to support cutting edge research and innovation."

The role of UBE

The Nigerian government acknowledges that the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Programme will be key to its achieving its development goals. Established in 1999, UBE's primary objective is "to eradicate illiteracy, ignorance and poverty as well as stimulate and accelerate national development, political consciousness and national integration." For such a critical agency, it is surprising that even by its own admittance, since it was set up, its progress was "hampered by lack of an enabling law to execute certain aspects of the programme." This issue was addressed on the 26th of May 2004, when President Obasanjo signed the Universal Basic Education Act into law.  Its provisions were described as follows:

"The UBE Act 2004 makes provision for basic education comprising of ECCE, Primary and Junior Secondary Education. The financing of basic education is the responsibility of States and Local Governments. However, the Federal Government has decided to intervene in the provision of basic education with 2 per cent of its Consolidated Revenue Fund. For states to fully benefit from this Fund, criteria were established with which states are to comply. The Act also provides for the establishment of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) to co-ordinate the implementation of the programme at the states and local government through the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) of each state and the Local Government Education Authorities (LGEAs)."

On the 4th and 7th of October 2016, the management of the UBEC held a meeting with the Executive Chairmen of State and FCT Universal Basic Education Boards at Crest Hotel in Jos.  In the communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, which had as its theme: "Strategic Planning: An Essential Tool For Effective Implementation of Basic Education in Nigeria", the organisers stated that it had been convened to "review the operational modalities in the delivery of basic education in Nigeria with a view to making necessary adjustments for optimal performance."

Part of the grim statistics from the UBEC meeting was the disclosure that "the 2015 Global Monitoring Report (GMR) by UNICEF revealed that Nigeria had the highest number of out-of-school children in the world which was estimated to be around 10.5 million," something the members considered "a worrisome trend and remains a major challenge in the delivery of basic education in the country."

A high percentage of these out-of-school children are in northern part of Nigeria, and in this regard, a 2005 UNICEF report states that:

"Over the last decade, Nigeria's exponential growth in population has put immense pressure on the country's resources and on already overstretched public services and infrastructure. With children under 15 years of age accounting for about 45 percent of the country's population, the burden on education and other sectors has become overwhelming. Forty percent of Nigerian children aged 6 -11 do not attend any primary school with the Northern region recording the lowest school attendance rate in the country, particularly for girls."

By 2015, the situation had not changed, as another UNICEF report revealed that "10.5 million children are out of school," in Nigeria, with "more than 60 percent of them girls."

Betty bah, Executive Director, Centre for Children's Health, Education, Orientation and Protection (CEE-HOPE) blames the high out of school children on cultural and religious practices in the northern part of the country. "The rate of OOS (out-of-school) children is high in the North due to culture, a negligent elite, failure on the part of government to enforce education polices and mass poverty."

Reversing the trend

Abah feels that the government has a role to play in reducing the high number of out-of of school children in Nigeria. Part of the way to achieve this, she says, is to provide incentives:

"There is lack of incentives for these children. First, government has to offer them irresistible incentives such as very delicious school meals. I know people who have been 'lured' into schooling because of the prospects of meals by missionaries, and along the way, their lives are improved."

At the time of writing, the Muhammadu Buhari administration has commenced implementation of one of its election campaign promises, namely to provide a free meal every day to Nigerian school children. Prince Chibueze-Agbo Ndubuisi, former Ebonyi State Commissioner for education says it is a good policy that should be sustained.  "The feeding programme as has been introduced by the federal government should be sustained.  A hungry child cannot concentrate in school."

SUBEB's action plan

To improve access to education at the Primary level in Nigeria, SUBEB has a vital role to play. SUBEB is the acronym for the State Universal Basic Education Board. According to the Osun State chapter of SUBEB, the programme is to:

"Ensure unfettered access to nine years of formal basic education; the provision of free, Universal Basic Education for every Nigerian child of school going age; reducing drastically the incidence of drop-out from the formal school system, through improved relevance, quality and efficiency; ensuring the acquisition of appropriate levels of literacy, numeracy, manipulative, communicative and life skills as well as the ethical, moral and civic values needed for laying a solid foundation for life-long learning."

The communiqué from the meeting between UBEC and the Executive Chairmen of State and FCT Universal basic Education Boards in Jos states that "SUBEB's Action Plans should be aligned to their respective Education Sector Plans especially in addressing UBE prioritized needs and the Ministerial Strategic Plan." But, it notes, the government "cannot realise its mandate in basic education sub-sector when billions of naira meant for improving the quality of basic education, remain un-accessed in the Central Bank."

Poor funding of the education sector

Despite the publication of the amounts spent funding schools at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels, some think that the impact on the education sector in Nigeria is minimal and therefore inadequate. Professor Aloysius-Michaels Okolie of the Department of Political Science at the University of Nigeria in Nsukka says that a lot still needs to be done as the standard of infrastructure in Nigerian institutions remain very poor:

"Presently over 40 per cent of the academic staff do not have functional offices. Most of the offices are poorly equipped and not particularly suitable for productive scholarship. Besides, 70 per cent of professorial offices do not have convenient and critical equipment for research. Worse still, the energy situation has now compelled the staff to resort to self help by funding the project of furnishing their respective offices."

Okolie noted that the abysmal situation is not restricted to just infrastructure because the quality of personnel is also depreciating with passage of time.

He added that the management of the funds in some institutions is shrouded in secrecy and deployed mostly to settle loyal but unproductive elements who have no professional calling to teach.  That is not the only challenge, as he is also of the view that over 60 per cent of academic staff recruited to teach appears ill prepared for the task of scholarship:

"Qualification for appointment of academic staff in some tertiary institution is now based on 'who you know' and 'who you are prepared to serve' and not on service delivery...the implications are better imagined."

To Professor Okolie, the damage caused by poor funding of the education sector is multifarious:

"Poor funding and mismanagement of funds in Nigerian universities have infused frustration, indolence and lack of critical thinking. Poor funding and poor remunerations have combined to reduce viable manpower to a level of zeroing down to thinking within the ambit of 'stomach infrastructure.'  Valuable time is now wasted on micro-survivalist research endeavours that veer attention away from demands of positive scholarship.  Over time the very good eggheads get frustrated and search for greener pastures. Brain drain derails sustained research and truncates consistent scholarship that produces critical inventions."

Dwelling on the same issue of poor funding is Shantaram Hegdekatte, an Indian educationist who was the chief executive officer of Educomp Nigeria, a company engaged by the former governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, to oversee one of its public schools. Speaking generally about public schools in Nigeria, Hegdekatte stated: "If money has been spent, [there is] very little to show for it on ground."  He described Government schools in Nigeria as "beyond repair."

The poor state of schools aside, Raphael James, the Director General of the Centre for Research, Information Management and Media Development (CRIMMD) says they are not even sufficient to cater to the growing population.  According to the National Bureau of Statistics, as at 2013 Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, had a population of 173.6 million.  While there is an increase in the number of students being enrolled, James said that the number of institutions available did not grow proportionally to meet the needs of the children concerned:

"For example, while enrolment in secondary schools increased from 297,605 in 1987 to 347, 276 in 1990, the number of schools established increased from 334 to 342 within the same period. Nigeria has about 60,913 secondary schools; 92 universities, 27 federal, 30 states, 35 private and 19 other award institutions."

Ephraim Kuji, a secondary school teacher in Abuja, also thinks there is a shortage of infrastructure and wants the shortfall corrected in view of the "constantly growing number of the poor seeking access to education."

One of the assignments that Educomp handled on behalf of the Rivers State government was recruiting teachers for secondary schools and conducting examination for students.  These assignments gave Hegdekatte an opportunity to see things from a close perspective.  His verdict:

"The so-called government teachers are mostly not qualified and have been recruited by corrupt practices. And their salaries are not paid for months! As a result they hardly attend the schools!  This is the bitter reality!"

As for the students, the Indian administrator said:

"When we conducted an entrance examination, results revealed a lot about the status of education. IQ and aptitude scores of Nigerian students were on par with the global averages if not higher. Language skills were also acceptable. But scores in mathematics and science were abysmally low, showing that kids are intelligent but education system failed them.  This handicap could be seen across primary, secondary and tertiary sectors of education."

Poor performance in external exams

The results of the National Examinations Council (NECO) released by the National Bureau of Statistics between 2011 and 2015 give an idea of the performance of Nigerian students in mathematics and science subjects.

MATHEMATICS

Of the 1,190,365 registered candidates in Mathematics for 2011, 3,355 scored A1 while 89,023 got F9 (the rest hovered among the grades between). In 2012, 88,544 candidates out of the 1,088,530 who sat for the exam recorded F9, while not a single candidate scored A1. In 2013, of the 1,020,260 who sat for mathematics, 63,796 scored F9 while no one made A1. For 2014, 960,600 sat and while 45,365 scored F9, forty nine candidates got A1. In 2015, of the 961,258 who sat, 21,810 scored F9 while 4,616 secured A1.

BIOLOGY

1,182,161/1,112,947 sat for Biology in 2011.  Of these, 70,059 scored F9 while 1,170 attained A1. In 2012, the result sheet showed that while 1,088,530 sat, 77,050 scored F9 and no one got A1. In 2013, 1,017,350 wrote the exam, and while 56,241 got F9, not a single candidate secured A1. The situation was not different in 2014 as there was no A1 candidate. Rather, of the 783,975 who sat for the exam, 51,519 scored F9. There was an improvement in 2015 as 21 candidates scored A1 out of the 719,995 who sat while 31,885 failed (F9).

CHEMISTRY

446,456/427,765 registered for Chemistry in 2011 out of whom 874 scored A1 while 26,702 scored F9. It was worse in 2012 as no student scored A1 while 19.449 failed the subject. There was no improvement in 2013 as again the A1 chart read 0 while 21,831 failed with F9. 2014 was also woeful as not a single candidate from the 783,975 who sat the exam scored A1, while the failure rate was 15,006. 2015 saw some improvement as 577 persons scored A1 even though 9,907 earned F9.

PHYSICS

Of the 446,009/426,388 candidates who sat for Physics in 2011, 1,040 got A1 while 20,233 scored F9. The performance dropped in 2012 as no student got A1 while 19,449 scored F9. In 2013, only four students got A1 out of the 417,501 who sat the exam, while 13,607 failed. The performance dropped in 2014 as there was no A1 candidate while out of the 418,440 who sat the exam 15,006 scored F9. 2015 was a little better as 258 students scored A1 while 6,968 from the overall 432,509 who sat for the test failed it.

Policy reversals

Performances like this tend to justify the opinion of Hegdekatte and others that the quality of education in Nigeria is poor, and that in part, this is caused by the poor state of facilities and the poor quality of teachers in many public and even private schools. Poor facilities are the result of poor funding but that is not the only impediment to progress in Nigeria; Government inconsistency is another. Governments in Nigeria appear to think that jettisoning or failing to improve on the policies or ideas they inherited is a way of proving their independence, or of rubbishing the achievements of their predecessors. When they are not outrightly criticizing or lampooning their colleagues, they initiate new policies to override existing ones. While this may seem to have become rampant in recent times, it is far from being a recent phenomenon as James recollects that since January 15, 1966 when the first military coup in Nigeria took place, there has been frequent changes in educational policies from one administration to the other.

This is a view shared by Prince Chibueze-Agbo Ndubuisi, former Ebonyi State Commissioner for Education as he pointed out that "Every administration wants to change the system without proper and critical study of what is on ground."

The poor state of public schools is believed to have benefited the private schools as many parents prefer to enrol their children in them.  Kuji, who teaches at a private secondary school in Abuja says private schools are neater than public schools, and that they also boast better facilities.

Better facilities probably explain why many private schools are more expensive than public schools but are not necessarily better in terms of quality. Comparing the situation in his country – India – to Nigeria, Hegdekatte claimed that:

"Education in Nigeria has become only for super rich! Entire generation of Nigerians is growing up without the basic education. This is a demographic disaster waiting to happen."

Is the SDGs Quality Education goal attainable?

Goal setting, catchphrases and slogans are not new in Nigeria. While the SDGs were not created by Nigeria, the fact that it has signed up to them makes them binding. But doubts persist as to whether the country can attain the SDG Quality Education goal.  James noted that it is not the first time the country would be part of ambitious goals, and that antecedents of the present commitments are well known. He recalled that "in the 80's and 90's we heard of 'Education for All in Year 2000.' But by 2000, the problem remained unsolved. He says it is doubtful whether attaining SDG Quality Education goal will become a reality in Nigeria.

Professor Okolie was no less pessimistic about Nigeria achieving the SDG Quality Education goal by 2030:

"This remains a tall and unrealistic dream. The way we are going, even in 2050, Nigeria will remain a harbinger for incubating illiterates and half-baked manpower. The idea of unifying the curriculum of institutions of higher learning smacks of a polity with deceptive semblance of common problems with a one-dose curative pill."

Chizo Asomugha, President of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics believes that in Nigeria, governments at various levels are not well enough acquainted with the global urgency and exigency for meeting SDG4:

"There does not appear to be any concerted focus on the part of governments to take the SDGs seriously. As at yet, the efforts made in that direction are so feeble they can only pass for lip service."

National Coordinator of the Education Rights Campaign, Mr Hassan Soweto, is also not hopeful about Nigeria's chances in this regard considering the current trend of its "pro-capitalist education policies and the lacklustre attitude to funding":

"I do not think it is feasible for Nigeria to achieve the SDG goal 4. Every bit of Nigeria's education policies contravenes the spirit and aims of the SDG goals. Our education policies promote exclusion instead of inclusion. The economic system of Nigeria is still capitalism which means social services, including education, are seen not as government responsibility but as business, and students are seen as customers."

However, Soweto noted that if the Buhari administration is serious about achieving the target, the first step is to declare free education at all levels and devote public resources to providing the required facilities needed to ensure that education is not only free but also qualitative.

Government's action plan

In its bid to revitalize the education sector in the implementation of its change agenda; the Federal Government convened a 3-Day Task Team Implementation Status meeting in Abuja in December 2016through the Ministry of Education.  Its purpose was to review, evaluate and examine the level of progress so far made in the execution of the 2016 Sustainable Development Goals' (SDGs) projects and programmes across the country. The meeting was also geared towards identifying gaps, challenges and making hard-nosed recommendations to reposition the education sector as a major driver of growth and development in the country. The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on SDGs and former Lagos State Deputy Governor, Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, made it clear that the Muhammadu Buhari administration would go the whole hog in the realization of SDG-4, to achieve inclusive and equitable quality education, and to promote lifelong learning opportunities for all:

"The SDG-4 is transformative and universal, attends to the unfinished business of the Education For All (EFA) goals and the education related MDGs 2 and 3, while also addressing global and national education challenges."

Aware of the importance of a functioning system in the pursuit of lofty goals of this nature, the Presidential aide told the impressive audience that the 2030 target date for the realization of the global SDGs would be a mere dream if the education sector in Nigeria is not fixed to meet the challenges of the times: "For Nigeria to attain SDGs by 2030, there must be a functional education system that is accessible by all and responsive to the requirements of the 21st century skills."  She added that SDG-4 and its objectives must be captured in the national education policy and planning.

Orelope-Adefulire highlighted some preconditions which must be met if Nigeria is to walk the same path as the rest of the world in the pursuit of this goal, and the country and her teeming citizens are to heave a sigh of relief on or before 2030.  According to the SDGs boss, gone are the days when government shoulders the responsibility of "doing it alone."  She stressed that all hands must be on deck to push through the total overhauling of the education sector, especially in the area of funding and teachers' training.

Apparently to ensure that Nigeria does not lag behind as she did with the MDGs, Orelope-Adefulire said that a good number of Nigerian youths would benefit from the partnership of the SDGs office with some international organizations in the sphere of training: "The present administration through my office in collaboration with Google/MindtheGap Foundation has proposed the digital training of 100, 000 youths in Nigeria towards sustainable development."

anthonyGiven the stark reality starring the nation on its face, through the instrumentality of Management By Objective (MBO), the Education Ministry is working round the clock for optimal use of resources with the emphasis on efficiency and effectiveness. For the first time in many years, the ministry has swiftly moved to block leakages in its funding channels and to ensure adequate value for money in projects implementation and execution.  In his keynote address the Minister of State for Education, Professor Anthony Anwukah, described the meeting as historic, saying that the review of the implementation of the projects would keep the ministry abreast of the pressing issues that need to be tackled squarely. While calling on beneficiaries to be transparent in their conduct, Professor Anwukah noted the importance the Buhari administration accords the education sector: "The present administration holds education as one of its flagship sectors in its effort at improving school effectiveness, learning outcomes as well as lifelong education."

Way out of the rot: Partnership financing

Attaining progress on education and meeting the SDG goals will go beyond planning without effective implementation.  As the experts have said, amongst other things, it will also require improved funding of the sector, the political will to curb corruption and mediocrity, and partnership with the private sector. While the Federal Government has collaborated with the private sector, including foreign agencies, on education matters in the past two years, it needs to deepen such engagement. One of such partnerships was visible at Nigeria's Annual Education Conference 2016 which took place in Abuja on November 2016. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo delivered the keynote address at the event, with the theme, Learning Opportunities for All: The Critical Role of Teachers. The conference was sponsored by the UK's DfID Education projects (Education Data Research and Evaluation in Nigeria, Education Sector Support Programme In Nigeria, Girls Education Programme, Developing Effective Private Education in Nigeria and Teachers Development Programme), the British Council, UNICEF, State Education Partnership Investment Programme, Nigeria Partnership for Education Project, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Universal Basic Education Commission. The 2016 conference was a follow up to that of 2015 which had also been organised by the Federal Ministry of Education in partnership with some education development stakeholders such as Education Data, Research and Evaluation in Nigeria (EDOREN), the British Council, the Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria (ESSPIN), the Teacher Development Programme (TDP), UNICEF, the UK DfID and the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC). Professor Anwuka, the Minister of State for Education, declared open the 2016 event that "interrogated the importance of evidence (knowledge, research, data) in strengthening policy making and good practice in Nigeria's basic education systems."In particular, it examined evidence and policy in four key areas: Better Primary School Teachers, Improved Learning Outcomes, Safe Schools and Better Use of Data."

Beyond such collaboration, direct private sector involvement could go a long way towards improving not only the quality of education but also providing less privileged children with the opportunity to go to school. In February 2017, a foundation established by Nollywood actress, Tonto Dike, pledged to renovate some schools in Warri and provide items such as books, whiteboard and school uniforms.

Ndubuisi, now a school proprietor, wants the government to exert political will as he sees that as the way to stamp out corruption and other ills plaguing the system such as the recruitment of unqualified teachers based on ethnicity, favouritism, cronyism and extortion.

On policy implementation or lack of it, Ndubuisi says Nigeria has a very serious problem in implementation, especially with regards to education programmes and projects.

Eric Okoro, a lecturer in the department of social sciences at the Federal Polytechnic, Nekede in Imo State wants the authorities to refocus the curriculum in favour of skills-based courses by introducing into the curriculum certain skill requiring jobs considered (odd) for graduates as special areas of study and specialization.  These include plumbing, vulcanizing, refuse technology and control, carpentry which will include building and roofing, hairdressing and weaving. And just as the National Universities Commission (NUC) was established to oversee universities, Okoro wants a National Polytechnics Commission to be set up as an apex body that will regulate and improve that arm of tertiary education.

Halting strikes

An ugly feature of the Nigerian education system is the frequent strikes embarked on by lecturers to protest the state of the sector.  While some are unhappy about this and consider that some of ASUU'S claims are selfish, Professor Okolie does not share that view as he believes that ASUU's actions are driven by love of country:

"I must have to state that the present gains recorded in our institutions are largely orchestrated by ASUU.ASUU remains the only 'man' standing in reviving, sustaining and stimulating the flame of decency, good conscience and transparency in the management of the Universities. ASUU as a Union is responsible and resort to strike/industrial action as only the last resort. We have come to realise, though painfully, that the only language understood by the political leaders in dealing with academic matters is strike. ASUU detests strike and has, over the years, made conscious efforts – including reasonable consultations and lobbying – to avert strikes but surprisingly, those at the helm of affairs insist on dragging ASUU into avoidable industrial actions. Perhaps they gain more in this regrettable scenario. Remove ASUU in Nigerian Institutions, and the result will be total decimation of academic values and total infrastructural decay."

To put an end to strikes and ensure uninterrupted academic sessions, Okoro proposes that the government should – as a matter of urgency – establish a statutory body that must meet every three months to dialogue and negotiate with stakeholders on issues affecting the education sector.

One of UNESCO's seven target goals as revealed in its Education Strategy 2014-2021 is that:

"... by 2030, all countries allocate at least 4-6 per cent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or at least 15-20 per cent of their public expenditure to education, prioritizing groups most in need, and strengthen financial co-operation for education, prioritizing countries most in need."

Despite the pessimism expressed by many Nigerians, the country would do well to be part of the successful group.

read the rest

SDGs Monitor Anthony Anwukah Biodun Ogunyemi Chika Ogonwa

SDG #5: An Appraisal of Nigeria's SDG Gender Equality Project

posted on June 29, 2017 by ORADI posted in SDGs Monitor

Gender equality and women's economic empowerment are at the centre of the United Nations' 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Although gender equality has been included amongst the top targets that countries must meet in order to reach the ultimate SDG, the issue has been on the front burner of international development agendas for decades.

read the rest

SDGs Monitor Aisha Alhassan Aisha Buhari Abike DabiriErewa Thomley

SDG #8: The challenges of Decent Work and Economic Growth in Nigeria

posted on June 28, 2017 by ORADI posted in SDGs Monitor

A major thrust of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by world leaders during the 70th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York in September 2015 was the need to do more to empower individuals through decent work.

Indeed, the importance of 'Decent Work and Economic Growth' was underscored by its inclusion in the SDGs. Occupying number 8, it targets the build-up of decent work and economic growth in society through the promotion of development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation.

There is no doubt that SDG-8 – which is geared towards promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable employment and decent work for all is meant to set a new path to economic growth and development for a country like Nigeria which has 112.519 million people living in poverty and over 20 million people without jobs.

As one of the world leaders who endorsed SDG-8, President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed the commitment of his administration to job creation and the provision of decent employment opportunities for Nigerians within the productive age range. The Nigerian leader realises that decent work is central to poverty reduction and is a means of achieving equitable, inclusive and sustainable development. He has therefore promised that Nigeria will strive to attain the targets of SDG8.

SDG-8 targets

In essence, the targets for SDG-8 are as follows:

• To sustain per capita economic growth in accordance with national circumstances and, in particular, at least 7 percent gross domestic product growth per annum in the least developed countries.

•  Achieve higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation, including through a focus on high-value added and labour-intensive sectors.

•  Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, including through access to financial services.

•  Improve progressively, through 2030, global resource efficiency in consumption and production and endeavour to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation, in accordance with the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production, with developed countries taking the lead.

•  By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value.

•  By 2020, substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training.

•  Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms.

•  Protect labour rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants, and those in precarious employment.

•  By 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products.

•  Strengthen the capacity of domestic financial institutions to encourage and expand access to banking, insurance and financial services for all.

•  Increase Aid for Trade support for developing countries, in particular least developed countries, including through the Enhanced Integrated Framework for Trade-Related Technical Assistance to Least Developed Countries.

•  By 2020, develop and operationalize a global strategy for youth employment and implement the Global Jobs Pact of the International Labour Organization.


ayubaPillars of decent work


The concept of decent work is generally accepted as covering a wide range of issues which can be organised under four 'pillars', namely:
  • Employment creation and enterprise development
  • Social protection
  • Standards and rights at work
  • Governance and social dialogue


Decent work deficits in Nigeria

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), the concept of "decent work" involves opportunities for work that is productive and delivers a fair income, security in the workplace and social protection for families, better prospects for personal development and social integration, coupled with active participation in decisions that affect their lives and equality of opportunity and treatment for all women and men.

Decent work, a tool for poverty reduction and equitable globalization, is achieved through the four strategic pillars earlier outlined – employment creation, rights at work, social protection and social dialogue, with gender equality as a crosscutting objective. Decent work is central to peoples' welfare as it provides income, paves the way for broader social and economic advancement and strengthens individuals, their families and communities. Decent work is linked to the concept of human development – a process of enabling choices, freedom to live one's value and manage one's affairs – the key indicators of which are long and healthy life, education and a decent standard of living. These indicators are usually measured by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Index.

issaHowever, over the years, despite the fact that Nigeria has ratified ILO conventions that deal with the rights of the worker in the workplace – indeed, has enshrined some of its provisions into the 1999 Constitution – the observance of some of the rights have been weak. Workers in the country have been subjected to all manner of indecent treatment. According to Dung Pam Sha, a professor of Political Economy and Development Studies at the University of Jos, the government, transnational corporations, global financial institutions, global trading institutions as well as local private employers who are supposed to respect these rights, are the key violators.

Consequently, Nigeria has continued to record decent work deficits which include employment and labour market deficits, labour standards deficits, deficits in social protection, labour administration deficits, and social dialogue deficits.

Employment and labour market deficits

Nigeria has had a decade of jobless growth in which years of economic growth have not translated to more employment opportunities or poverty alleviation. With regard to employment, the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS), Nigeria's core strategy to fight poverty and improve incomes, noted that the economy had experienced growth without any commensurate increase in job opportunities.

The labour force in Nigeria has not reflected the impressive level of economic growth experienced from 2005 to 2013.While the economy recorded an average of 9.8 percent growth in its GDP per annum between 2008 and 2010, the official unemployment rate for the working population ranged from 12 to 15 percent between 2002 and 2007. This trend of "jobless growth" was captured in the 2009 World Bank report on Employment and Growth in Nigeria. Today, half of the country's 170 million people live in urban areas with high rates of unemployment. The high level of unemployment was demonstrated when about 18 job seekers died and many were injured during a nationwide recruitment test conducted by the Nigeria Immigration Service in March 2014.

Poverty has been exacerbated by the persistently high unemployment levels. With a female unemployment rate of 12-14 percent, women experience more joblessness than their male counterparts whose rate of unemployment falls within the range of 10-12 percent. At 45.6 percent, youth unemployment rates are twice as high as the national average of 24 percent.

According to a recent report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in 2016 the country's unemployment rate rose from 13.3 percent in the second quarter, to 13.9 percent in the third quarter of that year – an increase of 555,311 persons. According to the report, the under-employment rate rose from 19.3 percent in second quarter to 19.7 percent in the third quarter. The report said that unemployment covered persons (aged 15–64) who were available for work, actively seeking for work but were without workduring the reference period. It defined 'under-employment' as when, on average, a person works more than 20 hours a week, but less than 40 hours, which is full time employment. It explained that underemployment could also happen if a person works full time but is engaged in an activity that underutilises her skills, time or educational qualifications.

However, the report stated that the economically active population or working age population (persons aged 15-64) increased from 106.69 million in second quarter to 108.03 million in the third quarter. "This represents a 1.26 percent increase over the previous quarter and a 3.57 percent increase when compared to the third quarter of 2015."In the third quarter of 2016, the labour force increased to 80.67 million from 79.9 million in second quarter. This represents an increase of 0.98 percent. Within the reference period, the total number of persons in full time employment (who did any form of work for at least 40 hours) decreased by 272,499 or 0.51 percent. The report stated that with an economically active or working age population (108.03 million) and labour force population (80.67 million), 27.36million persons within the economically active or working age population decided not to work for one reason or the other in the third quarter, hence they were not part of the labour force and could not be considered unemployed. According to the report, there have been eight consecutive rises in the unemployment rate since the fourth quarter of 2014.

fig5

The increase in the unemployment rate is attributed to a number of factors, chief among which are the increased number of school graduates with no matching job opportunities, a freeze in employment by institutions, the crash in the capital market and continued job losses in the manufacturing and oil sectors.

Another contributing factor to the unemployment situation is the limited employability of the workforce. This is due to the fact that graduates and young people lack training opportunities, and to the level of skill required in the world of work. Apart from this, the training available and the curricula of technical vocational institutions are obsolete and do not reflect current market requirements.

Employment and human resource planning functions are also inadequately developed to equip the nation to face the challenges of the present labour market. According to Sola Fajana, a Professor of Labour and Human Resource Management, and Vice Chancellor, Joseph Ayo of Babalola University, Ikeji-Arakeji in Osun State, the decent work deficits in the area of unemployment centres largely on how to eliminate the large scale underemployment that leads to poverty, especially among youths and women. "The ineffectiveness of previous policy measures to make any significant impact on this serious socio-economic and psychological malaise suggests new policy directions and strategies underpinned by effective policy implementation," Fajana said.

Fajana added that other unemployment-related work deficit issues which require attention are: managing the imbalance between the demand and supply of labour of all ages; addressing the low quality of work and pay which underemployment accentuates; redressing the structural imbalance in the access to jobs among older and young job seekers; and improving the employability of graduates who lack market-ready skills and competences.

To close the gaps in skills between the programmes of educational institutions and the requirements of the workplace, Remi Dairo, President of the Institute of Productivity and Business Innovation Management said that the government needs to restructure the educational system to meet the present and future needs of the labour market in the country.

Labour standards deficits

Nigeria has ratified a total of 40 ILO conventions, of which 35 are currently in force, including all eight core conventions. However, the country is yet to ratify a number of conventions that are crucial to addressing decent work deficits in the labour market and the critical challenge of poverty and social exclusion, particularly within the context of prevailing economic difficulties. These include ILO conventions C122, C129, C150, C187 and C188 that relate to labour market governance, C102 on social security, C181 on Private Employment Agencies and C189 on Domestic Workers. Even though Nigeria ratified the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 in 2013, it has not been domesticated. The implementation of ratified conventions has not always been effective owing to capacity challenges in ensuring compliance with such commitments, and lack of adequate awareness of the provisions of such conventions. According to Fajana, "Nigeria has continually been carpeted by ILO for flagrant violation of trade union rights."

Besides, some labour laws that were reviewed more than a decade ago are still pending at the National Assembly.

Experts in labour and industrial relations believe that it is necessary to review the list of ILO instruments ratified by Nigeria. It has also become imperative to enhance the effective implementation of ratified instruments if the country is to plug the labour standards deficits since they are of the view that some of the deficits of decent work and pay can be minimised through effective labour laws.

Deficits in social protection

The social protection model adopted by Nigeria in 2005 declares that the goal of social protection in the country "is to reduce poverty and protect vulnerable groups through effective and sustainable management mechanism."

The specific objectives are to:

  • Assist the population who are poor to get out of poverty;
  • Protect the vulnerable against poverty;
  • Provide income support to the poorest, especially the sick, disabled and retirees;
  • Increase the enrolment and attendance rates of poor students in school;
  • Address short-term employment needs by developing skills and competences.

However, several components of the social protection model are yet to be fully deployed in Nigeria. The country has not lived up to expectation when it comes to enacting and implementing policies which provide a safety net that will reduce the level of risk to workers' lives, health and well-being, as well as offer social security and address HIV/AIDS.

The plight of people aged 60 and above who have retired from formal salary or wage employment, self-employment or other forms of work such as small scale farmers and artisans, is pitiable. This is due to historical neglect revealed by the absence of any meaningful policy or practice of social security for this group of Nigerians. Indirectly, this puts the welfare of several other dependants who rely on the fortune of these retirees to eke out a living for themselves in jeopardy. Since Nigeria slipped into economic recession in the second quarter of 2016, pensioners in many states of the federation are being owed arrears of their pension payments, but it is not only the pensioners who suffer as a result, but their immediate families and dependants.

The situation is the same for informal sector workers who account for about 70 percent of the workforce in Nigeria. The future and retirement life of most of these workers who have no organised pension plan remains a cause for concern.

In terms of protection for the vulnerable, the country has not fared better. For example, there are no unemployment benefits for persons with disabilities.

Nigeria's HIV epidemic is described as generalised (above one percent prevalence among those attending antenatal care facilities) with a wide variation of prevalence within the country. The figure given for Nigerians living with HIV/AIDS – 3,459,363 – out of an estimated total population of 170 million Nigerians, means that Nigeria has the second highest HIV burden in the world and the largest in the West African sub-region. The 2012 estimate showed an adult prevalence of 4.1 per cent. However, the 2015 report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS and the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) showed that HIV among adults in the country was 3.1 or 3.2 million people.

In 2013, the ILO supported the Nigerian government and its social partners to revise its out-dated National Workplace Policy on HIV and AIDS and its implementation guidelines to meet the International Labour Standard concerning HIV and AIDS. Although a national workplace policy on HIV and AIDS exists, there is no comprehensive programme on HIV and AIDS which covers all elements of the world of work.

Deficits identified include the continued stigma and discrimination against those infected and affected by HIV as well as lack of HIV and AIDS interventions that are tailored for the workplace and focused on vulnerable sectors.

Other identified decent work deficits in the area of social protection include: a limited social security system that caters only for workers in the formal sector; an inadequate pension system; lack of any social welfare system for senior citizens, the younger generation or people living with HIV; the neglect of persons with disabilities and lack of unemployment benefits for them; and the rudimentary nature of child social protection schemes.

fig6

Besides, Nigeria is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. Within Nigeria, women and girls are trafficked for domestic servitude and commercial sexual exploitation. Women and girls are also trafficked from Nigeria to Europe through Libya, Morocco, and Algeria, primarily for the purpose of sexual exploitation. While Italy is the primary European destination country for Nigerian victims, other destinations include Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium and Norway. A 2010 survey of the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) showed that over 10,000 Nigerians were engaged in prostitution in Italy, constituting 60 percent of all prostitutes in the Italian sex market.

Child labour is most predominant in Nigeria among African nations, with an average of 28.8 percent of the under-15 years population engaged in child labour. In many parts of the country, boys are trafficked for forced labour in street vending, agriculture, mining, stone quarries and as domestic servants. In Northern Nigeria, religious teachers traffic boys, called almajiri, for forced begging.

Labour administration deficits

Labour is within the purview of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment. The objective of labour administration is to strengthen labour standards and practice in all sectors, especially in the weak sectors, to ensure minimum levels of protection for vulnerable groups. Thus all aspects of the ministry's mandate are covered in labour administration.

However, there are major gaps in achieving the goals that labour administration espouses. Decent work deficits in labour administration include capacity gaps in training for factory and labour inspection, and in funding of monitoring services. Until recently, factory and labour inspection continued to attract very low budgetary allocations in spite of Nigeria's ratification of Convention 81 on labour inspection.

Infringement of freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining has become more rampant. Often, victimised groups do not seek state intervention, because – especially in the informal economy – they fear further victimization by the employer. The Ministry of Labour and Employment appears to lack the capacity to sanction offending employers, and indeed, its structure and processes suggest that the ministry has neither the mandate nor the capacity to sanction factory owners with substandard labour practices.

Professor Fajana, a scholar of labour and human resource management, suggests that "more than ever before, labour administration today needs appropriate re-engineering to assist in the optimization of decent work services to its stakeholders."

Social dialogue deficits

The social dialogue pillar in Nigeria consists of a network of actors and the institutions they have established for the promotion of joint discussion, negotiation or determination of issues that confront the social partners either within the place of work, or even outside it when the object of is the resolutions of identified conflicts.

In terms of workers' organizations, there are two main umbrella bodies in Nigeria – the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC).

Forms of social dialogue in Nigeria include collective bargaining, which is bipartite, and cooperation among government, employers' organizations and workers' organizations in formulating or implementing labour, social or economic policy, which is tripartite. Tripartite-plus dialogue involves all stakeholders such as the host community, non-governmental agencies, civil society and the three arms of government (executive, legislative and the judiciary) as well as workers' organizations and employers' organizations.

Other efforts at social dialogue involve the Nigeria Employers' Consultative Association (NECA) which has been conducting seminars and training programmes on business development and growth as well as labour market dialogues. Collective bargaining is quite effective in Nigeria, especially in the private sector where trade unions and employers or employers' associations have shown a visible commitment to the sanctity of collective agreements.

However, the system of collective bargaining in the public sector does not encourage appointed bargaining agents to secure firm commitment from their government counterparts by signing draft agreements. This often leads to delay in the ratification process, with resulting social dialogue deficits.

The Labour movement and the demand for decent work

International Labour Organisation (ILO) statistics indicate that worldwide, one worker dies every 15 seconds, 6,000 workers die every day, and more than two million workers die annually as a result of work-related accidents and diseases.

These grim and unacceptable statistics are unlikely to improve, as technological and social changes are aggravating existing health hazards and creating new risks.

The situation is not different in Nigeria. Many employers of labour in the country violate the Factories Act Cap F1 LFN 2004 on Occupational Safety and Health at work places. Analysts are of the view that the work environment has become more precarious for workers in different sectors of the Nigerian economy. In recent years, there have been several cases where workers complain of being subjected to precarious work conditions by their employers. In May, 2014, bottling operations at the Benin plant of the Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) were abruptly halted by casual workers, following the death of one of their colleagues, Jerry Ayo, after a work related accident. The angry workers completely shut the plant, barricading the company's gates and lighting bonfires.

In September 2015, there were gory reports of death in a Chinese-owned firm, Hongxing Steel Company Limited, in the Amuwo Odofin area of Lagos State. While Emeka Umoh died when liquefied iron spilled on his body while he was on duty on September 23, 2015, another worker, Adebayo Ajiboye, died after being crushed by a compressor in February 2015. Against a background of complaints of being forced to work under conditions akin to slavery, the management's decision to take his body to a morgue with a tipper led to a confrontation with the workers who alleged that Umoh and Ajiboye were just two of many Nigerian workers in the firm who had died or sustained permanent disability due to accidents on duty. They complained that such accidents were regular occurrences due to faulty machines and the absence of safety standards.

In addition to job insecurity and unfair labour practices by employers, the lack of decent and safe working environment has been a major concern for the labour movement in Nigeria. Indeed, it was the main focus of the NLC and the TUC during the annual World Day for Decent Work held on October 7 globally. For the 2015 event, the NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, left Abuja for Lagos to campaign against anti-labour practices. He picketed some companies accused of not providing a decent work environment, including the Egbin Power Station Plc., Vik Limited, Jagal Limited, Lee Group, Dura Pack Limited and Coates Limited. Later, speaking at a rally to mark Decent Work Day, Wabba said that the companies were picketed so that they could be put on their toes on the need to respect labour laws. He said that the level of precariousness in the work environment in some organisations was intolerable and that efforts were being made to address the problem, noting that Nigerian workers, as the creators of the nation's wealth, deserve the best in terms of decent work and welfare.

Comrade Issa Aremu, General Secretary of the National Union of Garment and Textile Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN), who is also the Vice President of the Geneva-based Industrial Global Union, deplored the growing level of casualization, outsourcing and other practices, which he said, are calculated to debase Nigerian workers.

During the 2016 'World Decent Work Day' held in Abuja, NLC President Wabba reiterated the determination of the labour movement to collectively end corporate greed, so that there would be shared posterity. "We therefore affirm that no matter what, decent work must be at centre of government actions to bring back economic growth to our country."

Wabba further described the national minimum wage of N18,000 per month, as "paltry", saying that it had further impoverished the Nigerian worker. As a result, the NLC had submitted a request for an upward review of the National Minimum Wage which was signed into law by former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011. The labour unions are demanding for a minimum wage of N56,000 per month. Wabba said that since the minimum wage was due for renegotiation after five years, the Buhari administration should undertake the necessary upward review of Nigerian workers' emoluments, which had been seriously diminished by the prevailing economic recession in the country.

Buhari administration's decent work and economic growth agenda

In accordance with President Buhari's pledge that his administration would be committed to job creation and the provision of decent employment opportunities for Nigerians of productive age, the Ministry of Labour and Employment has been working to ensure an inclusive national employment policy.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, said that the ILO's Decent Work Agenda (DWA) has received widespread endorsement, and that based on this, the Nigerian government has been collaborating with the ILO through the Decent Work Country Programme Declaration (DWCP II) to produce a fair framework and globalized plan of action.

The Declaration expresses the universality of the DWA: all members of the ILO must pursue policies based on the four strategic objectives – employment, social protection, social dialogue and rights at work. The Declaration urges a holistic and integrated approach by observing that these objectives are "inseparable, interrelated and mutually supportive," stressing that upholding international labour standards is a significant means of achieving all of the strategic objectives.

Dr. Ngige commented on the Declaration saying that "DWCP II contains a range of strategic interventions that will support national initiatives aimed at reducing decent work deficits and strengthening national capacities for effective programme delivery"

Deploring the high rate of unemployment and the adverse effect on development when a nation's productive human capacity was excluded, the Minister said that a review of the National Employment Policy (NEP) was necessary.

The collaboration between the Federal Government and ILO on the DWA resulted in Nigeria's validation of the NEP on October 27, 2016.

The Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Dr Clement Iloh, said that the reviewed NEP is an off-shoot of the first National Policy on Employment which had been approved by the Federal Executive Council in 2002 with the objectives of promoting job creation as a priority in national, economic and social policy; safeguarding the basic rights and interest of workers; stimulating economic growth and development; as well as eradicating poverty and improving the living standards of citizens.

dennisMr Dennis Zulu, the Director of the ILO Country Office for Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and ECOWAS Liaison Office expressed confidence that the reviewed employment policy would enhance a coherent, integrated and sustainable multi-sectoral response to combat the challenges of unemployment, noting that under the DWA, the focus is not only on creating jobs, but on creating quality jobs.

Zulu appealed to the Nigerian government to ratify the ILO Convention 122 since the reviewed NEP was already in line with the objectives of the Convention. He advised that a possible first step towards implementing the policy would be to integrate employment goals and targets in national development frameworks. This would need to be supported by multi-component and coordinated employment approach, negotiated by tripartite constituents and integrated in the Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) and United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF). He emphasized the need for institutional coordination, an effective accountability system, and pro-employment budgeting that put employment at the core of national budgetary policy.

In its 2015 Child Labour Report, the United States Department of Labour commented on the progress made by Nigeria in strengthening the framework to stem the scourge of Child Labour and Human Trafficking. Presenting the report to Dr. Ngige in October 2016, the Department's Representative, Marlin Hardinger, explained that the report's review of child labour developments in 142 countries had found "moderate advancement" in Nigeria's efforts to tackle the problem.

Receiving the report, Ngige challenged the accuracy of some of its conclusions. The Minister emphatically rejected the aspect of the report that blacklisted Nigeria as engaging in "child soldiering," attributing this scourge to the desperate activities of the Boko Haram insurgents whom he described as terrorists whose activities cannot in any way be ascribed to the government of Nigeria.

Acknowledging the report's criticism of child labour in other sectors such as agriculture, gold mining and construction, as well as the social malaise of begging and scavenging, the Minister restated that the involvement of children in these occupations arose partly from cultural practices, but was mostly the consequence of poverty and poor education, problems with which many African countries are grappling.

In an effort to effectively implement its decent work and economic growth agenda, on the 5th of April, 2017 the Buhari administration launched its economic blueprint, which – by leveraging on the ingenuity and resilience of its citizens – was designed to bequeath a more diversified and inclusive economy to Nigeria by 2020. The economic blueprint "Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP)", entails the creation of new jobs and projects an increase from 1.5 million new jobs in 2017 to 3.8 million, 4.3 million and 5.1 million jobs in 2018, 2019 and 2020 respectively.

The Nigerian government intends to build upon the achievements that it expects to record in the creation of decent jobs through its new economic blueprint, in working towards meeting the target s of SDG8 by 2030.

read the rest

SDGs Monitor Chris Ngige Ayuba Wabba Issa Aremu Dennis Zulu,

SDG #10: Reducing Inequality: Nigeria's Scorecard

posted on June 28, 2017 by ORADI posted in SDGs Monitor

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development formally adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015, places on the Nigerian government and development stakeholders the sacred responsibility of taking desired policy actions that will help the country tackle poverty and reduce inequality. The implication is that Nigeria's aim of meeting the SDGs by 2030 will be achieved unless it tackles the growing economic inequality and poverty within its society. Sustainable Development Goal number 10 focuses on reducing inequality in a variety of contexts: income inequality within a country, as well as inequality by gender, age, disability, race, class, ethnicity, religion, and opportunity.SDG-10 is also designed to tackle inequality among countries in terms of voice, migration, and international aid.

SGD-10 mandates UN member countries, including Nigeria, to ensure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities of outcome, by eliminating discriminatory laws, policies and practices and by promoting appropriate legislation and actions, adopting policies – especially fiscal, wage and social protection policies – to progressively achieve greater equality.

SDG-10 is also geared towards ensuring that by 2030, every country must have progressively achieved sustainable income growth for the bottom 40 percent of the population at a rate higher than the national average; and must have empowered and promoted the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status.

SDG-10 also enjoins the UN to collaborate with member countries to facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies. Specifically, there should effective implementation of the principle of special and differential treatment for developing countries, particularly the least developed countries, in accordance with the World Trade Organization agreements.  The transaction cost for migrant remittances should be reduced to less than three percent, and remittance corridors with costs higher than five percent should be eliminated by 2030.

Reducing inequality as government's priority

Nigerian governments have always claimed that reducing economic inequality and widespread poverty is a top priority. Every government since Independence has pledged to implement policies, programmes and projects that will ensure the equitable distribution of national wealth, as well as fair and equal opportunities in jobs and business opportunities.

However, when it adopted Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which set the target of halving the number of people living in extreme poverty by 2015, the Nigerian government began to make more concerted efforts to achieve results.

Several agencies and schemes were established to tackle poverty and unemployment as part of its avowed commitment to reduce poverty and inequality in the country. Agencies such as the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP), the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN) and the Microcredit and Entrepreneurship Development Schemes (MEDS) were created to address these challenges.

The government also initiated three social protection initiatives, namely: conditional cash transfers targeted at households with specific social characteristics, health fee waivers for pregnant women and children under five, and community-based health insurance plans.

Measures initiated by the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo to tackle inequality in the country included the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP), the Youth Empowerment Scheme (YES), the Rural Infrastructure Development Scheme (RIDS), the Social Welfare Scheme (SOWESS) and the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS). Yet the African Development Bank (AfDB)'s 'African Development Outlook' report indicated that the rate of poverty in Nigeria worsened between 1996 and 2010.  It noted that though poverty rates declined between 1999 and 2004, i.e. during the first five years of the Obasanjo administration, that trend severely reversed after that.

The AfDB report correctly predicted that the effort of the Nigerian government to meet the MDGs target on poverty reduction was "weak" and unrealistic.

The African Development Outlook report also showed that inequality among individuals and households in different classes rose from 0.429 in 2004 to 0.447 in 2010, placing Nigeria among those with the highest inequalities in the world. Its startling observations read:

"Though Nigeria has seen significant economic growth as a result of the oil industry, revenue from the market typically gets funnelled to the ruling and business elite. The government has done little to temper that flow of cash, and corruption has been rampant. As a result, the poor get poorer and the rich get richer. Income inequality has been a chronic issue in Nigeria."

This came as a surprising verdict to some, considering that Nigeria not only maintained its place as the wealthiest nation in Africa, recording an average GDP growth rate of 6.7 per cent during the period under review following a prolonged period of high oil prices.  But despite the observed upward trend in economic performance during the period, the pitiable living conditions of the majority of people did not change. The high inequality manifested in highly unequal income distribution and differential access to basic infrastructure, education, training and job opportunities.

jonathanTo reduce unequal income distribution, the administrations of Presidents Umaru Musa Yar'Adua and Goodluck Jonathan experimented with various initiatives to empower more people through mechanized farming and vocational skills.  For instance, in May 2012, President Jonathan inaugurated the Agriculture Transformation Implementation Council (ATIC).  Its mandate was to drive his administration's ambitious Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) which was to be a major tool for driving rural income growth, accelerating the achievement of food and nutritional security, generating employment and transforming Nigeria into a leading player in the global food market.

The Jonathan administration also took further steps to addressing unemployment in the country by creating initiatives to empower youths to become entrepreneurs rather than job seekers. Job creation programmes such as the Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YOU-WIN), Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS), the SURE-P Technical Vocational Education and Training Programme (TVET) and the Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme (YEAP) were set up and actively promoted.

However, just like previous policies of government conceived with much hype and lofty promises, these efforts to address poverty and inequality failed to produce the intended results.

So far, not much success has been recorded in the quest to tackle economic inequalities in income, gender, age, disability, race, class, ethnicity, religion, and opportunity in Nigeria. The consequence has been that the gap between the small group who enjoy the wealth of the country and the majority of the masses who are poor and barely struggling to survive has continued to widen.

Studies have consistently shown that the Nigeria's economy is structured in such a way as to ensure that the rich get richer while the poor get poorer.  This has had adverse consequences on the social well being of the populace as a whole.

Victor Emejuiwe, a Programme Officer (Good Governance) at the Centre for Social Justice in Abuja, says that the huge gap between the rich and the poor in Nigeria can be traced to unequal in income distribution among workers:

"Income inequality gives birth to corruption, insecurity, lack of efficiency and capacity in the workplace. It retards growth and development of both the individual and the nation. With the exception of a few corporations, income inequality exists amongst large percentage of the workforce in the private and public sectors in Nigeria.  The approved minimum wage of N18, 000 is not feasible in the present economy. Workers have relied heavily on kickbacks, and partake in all sort of sharp practices just to meet up with the demands for survival. The low income wage ensnares workers to corruption, hence making a majority of Nigerians guilty of corruption."

Emejuiwe noted that President Buhari's fight against corruption is a welcome development, but that corruption must be fought on all fronts by addressing the wage disparity that exists between highly placed public officials and the ordinary workers. He noted that the current situation where less than one percent of Nigerians who are members of the National Assembly consume much of the country's budget as recurrent expenditure would further increase inequality. He said that in order to successfully address inequality, the salaries of all public office holders should be reviewed, with the aim of cutting down some of the unreasonable entitlements.

He added that to address income inequality, the focus should be granting workers access to reasonable purchasing power that meets the competing demands of society.

Buhari administration's inequality reduction efforts

President Muhammadu Buhari achieved an historic victory in the 2015 presidential election against President Goodluck Jonathan largely on the strength of his party's 'Change' mantra.  Among the key promises made to Nigerians by the victorious All Progressives Congress (APC) during the electoral campaign and in the wake of their triumph, was that action would be taken to reduce poverty and inequality in the land.

In his inaugural address, Buhari was unequivocal in his pledge to address the widening gap between rich and poor in the country, and to ensure that economic opportunities were evenly spread through job creation and boosting domestic productivity.

Prior to his March 28, 2015 victory, Buhari had specifically promised to ensure the equitable distribution of national wealth if elected into office.  He reiterated that all Nigerians deserve to "benefit from our collective wealth."

Four months after his inauguration, in his maiden address to the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Buhari told world leaders that the core objectives of the SDGs were at the centre of his administration's agenda.  He said that under his leadership Nigeria intended "to tackle inequalities arising from massive unemployment and previous government policies favouring a few people to the detriment of the many."

fig1He did not stop there. In his 2016 Budget Speech, President Buhari also expressed confidence that his government's first Appropriation Bill would go a long way towards addressing the core socio-economic challenges that had bedevilled the country for so long, creating a widening gap between the poor and the rich.

In Nigeria's 2017 Budget Proposal tagged "the Budget of Recovery and Growth," Buhari again reiterated the determination of his government to tackle the root causes of the country's socio-economic challenges to lay a solid foundation for the golden era of shared prosperity and equal opportunities.

After two years in office, it is appropriate to find out the extent to which the Buhari administration has implemented SDG-10 in terms of reversing the trend of poverty and economic inequality. Cursory checks on key economic indicators show that the country's prevailing circumstances have not improved as significantly as some would have anticipated. For instance, Nigeria's unemployment rate climbed to 13.9 percent in the third quarter of 2016 from 9.9 percent and 7.8 percent in 2015 and 2014 respectively. It was the highest level since 2009.

The youth (15-24) unemployment rate increased to 25 percent in the third quarter of 2016 from 21.50 percent in the first quarter of 2016.  It had averaged 17.51 percent from 2014 until 2016 when it reached an all time high of 25.00 percent.

Employment rates, however, remained unchanged at 86.40 percent in the third quarter of 2016 from 86.40 percent in the second quarter of 2016.  The employment rate in Nigeria averaged 89.79 percent from 2014 until 2016, having reached an all-time high of 93.60 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014 and a record low of 86.40 percent in the second quarter of 2016.

The individual Living Wage in Nigeria remained unchanged at 43,415.20 NGN/Month in the third and fourth quarters of 2016.

Nigeria's GINI Index also confirmed the widening income inequality in the country, being measured at 48.83 in 2010, up from 43 in 2004, according to the World Bank. The rise from 43 to nearly 49 in six years shows the growing gulf in the country's income distribution.

soludoNigeria's worsening poverty

A former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Professor Chukwuma Soludo, offered a damning verdict on Nigeria's recent economic performance. According to the renowned economist:

"Nigerian workers have suffered a double whammy: average nominal wages are declining while real wages dramatically shrunk (with high inflationary pressures). Asset prices have collapsed, and household wealth has shrunk".

It is rather paradoxical that a country like Nigeria with abundant human and natural resources has majority of its citizens poverty-stricken. Olufemi Awoyemi, the Chief Executive Officer of Proshare Nigeria observed that statistics appears to have grossly under-estimated the immensity of poverty that defines Nigeria's paradox of 'rich country with poor masses'. He argued that:

fig2"More than 90 percent of Nigerians are poor and exist largely at the mercy of fate. These realities are much more obvious in rural areas and slums. In these places, people die because they cannot afford N500 to purchase needed medication or basic public health care. Worse still, people around may not be able to help as they too may not be able to collectively raise that amount of money. It is a very obvious reality in today's Nigeria!"

Arinze Nwobu, an assistant director with the Chartered Institute of Stock Brokers also lamented that "it is a paradox", that a Nigerian economy brimming over with both natural and human resources, is still bedevilled by a vicious cycle of poverty. Nwobu went further to make the following stark observations:

fig3"Presently, all macroeconomic indices have turned hostile to the welfare of citizens. In January, 2017, inflation rate spiked to 19 percent, unemployment rate rose for the seventh straight quarter to 13.9 percent in the third quarter of 2016, reported to be the highest level since 2009. Poverty rate stands at 62.6 percent with almost 100 million people living on less than US$1 a day, reinforcing a vicious cycle of poverty."

Labour/wage issues

In both the private and public sector, Nigerians who work are supposed to enjoy some fundamental rights and benefits as provided in labour laws such as the Labour Act of 1971, (amended in 1990).Under its provisions, workers are supposed to receive remuneration commensurate with their service.

Apart from the benefits, labour laws make provision for contractual agreements that should guide the relationship between employees and employers, to ensure that no party short-changes the other. The aim of such detailed labour agreements is to ensure that both parties adhere strictly to labour laws and uphold the tenets of the dignity of labour.

However, in the public sector, Nigeria's civil service is still bedevilled by impunity and non-compliance with either local labour laws or global standards.

For instance, while it is unlawful under Nigerian Law for an employer to encourage its employee or for the employee to elect to be paid a "special" holiday allowance so that the employee not to go for the annual leave/holiday; this practice has continued to be flouted despite the fact that medical and human resource experts discourage it.

Sadly, employers of labour, especially in the private sector have continued to take advantage of the unemployment situation in the country by underpaying or over-tasking their employees.

However, with the devastating impact of the economic recession on the incomes and wellbeing of Nigerian workers and their families, the demand for an upward review of the national minimum wage has been intensified. Labour leaders and government negotiators led by the Minister of Labour and Employment are still trying to reach agreement on a new minimum wage.

The challenge remains finding a way to improve workers' wages in line with the prevailing economic realities without exacerbating the country's woes. Already, many state governments have been struggling to pay salaries based on the current minimum wage.  There are fears that any major increase may trigger a wave of retrenchment in the public service.

Some experts argue that a unilateral hike in the minimum wage may not be the best way to address income inequality. The last national minimum wage increase of 63.7 percent from N11,000 to N18,000 which became effective from August 2010, was criticized for failing to bridge the income gap because it led to a pay rise which cut across all levels, and succeeded in making the highest paid civil servant on the highest grade level (17, step 9) earn about N453,444.67 per month, or N5,444,336 per year.  Meanwhile, the lowest grade workers who would now be earning N18,000 per month or only N216,000 per year.  The increase thus failed to bridge the wide gap in pay differentials among staff of various sectors of the civil service.  Moreover, the minimum wage was not made binding on private sector employers.

As labour leaders in Nigeria mount pressure for another increase in the minimum wage, the challenge remains how to use the pay structure to address the widening gap between the rich and the poor, and address income inequality. There is no sign yet that the proposals for a new minimum wage will close any of the loopholes of previous ones, or address the critical issue of income inequality.

Economic empowerment

The Buhari administration has also tried to create employment opportunities in its bid to bridge the inequality gap. Thus it budgeted the sum of N542,889,800 for the rehabilitation of five model skills centres in five states, rehabilitation of 63 skills centres in 21 states; and retooling of  68 skills centre in 21 one states in the 2016 budget.

It also rolled out the first of its N500 billion social investment programmes in June 2016. The Teacher Corps, nicknamed "N-Power Teach", is one of the three direct job creation and training schemes launched by the government in June 2016.  It is a paid volunteer programme of two-year duration will enable government train 500,000 selected unemployed Nigerians to serve in teaching, instructional, and advisory roles in primary and secondary schools, agricultural extension systems and in public health and community education (including civic and adult education).

edmondOther social investment programmes launched by the presidency to address unemployment and entrepreneurial challenges in the country include the Conditional Cash Transfer that pays N5000 monthly to one million Nigerians, the Micro-Credit Scheme for over 1.5 million Nigerians, the Home-Grown School Feeding programme that will serve 5.5 million Nigerian pupils in primary schools free meals, and the Education Support Grant Programme for 100,000 tertiary students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

Apart from these social investment programmes, the Nigerian government recently began the registration of unemployed citizens through an online portal: www.jobsforall.ng. Edmund Onwuliri, the Deputy Director for Information and Public Relations at the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), explained that this would enable the agency to serve as a clearing house to job seekers with vacancies in government agencies and the private sector.

Despite these initiatives by the Buhari administration to tackle unemployment and boost shared prosperity, concerns remain that Nigeria may still not meet the SDG10 targets.

Adetokunbo Mumuni, the Executive Director of the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) believes that efforts of both the past and present governments in Nigeria have not been able to address the root causes of widening inequality and poverty in the country because of poor planning and implementation.

Mumuni said that to significantly reduce inequality in Nigeria, government must be sincere about creating an enabling and sustainable environment for the fair and equitable distribution of national wealth and economic opportunities to make it possible for Nigerians to live and operate in a more equal society.fig4

read the rest

SDGs Monitor Olusegun Obasanjo Goodluck Jonathan Chukwuma Soludo Edmund Onwuliri

SDG#13: Climate Action: Nigeria's Progress Report

posted on June 28, 2017 by ORADI posted in SDGs Monitor

On December 12, 2015 during a United Nations-sponsored meeting in Paris, COP21, Nigeria joined 194 other countries to make a historic pledge to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.  What was later dubbed the 'Paris Agreement' provides a comprehensive framework for stabilizing planet Earth's climate and preventing the atmosphere from heating above a global warming tipping-point of two degrees Celsius. In other words, it offered global policy leaders, experts and other stakeholders a how-to-do-it document to save the planet from ecological doom.

buhariFour months later, in April 2016, most of these countries put a seal to their pledges by signing the Paris Agreement at the UN Headquarters in New York. Nigeria did not sign the document until the 22nd of September 2016, and on the 28th of March 2017, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Instrument of Ratification of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change at State House Abuja.

However, Nigeria is conspicuously missing from the list of countries that had fully paid their 2017 contributions by the 1st of January 2017, as required by the agreed financial policy that supports the crucial work of the UN climate body. The delay in ratification of the Paris Agreement and payment of her 2017 financial obligations for the UN climate body efforts puts a huge question mark over Nigeria's full commitment to the global climate action deal.

Ranked amongst the top 25 Green-House Gas (GHG) Emitting Countries and considered vulnerable to the impact of climate change, Nigeria ought to be a front-runner in the race to save the planet from climate change calamity. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are projected to grow 114 per cent by 2030 to around 900 million tonnes – approximately 3.4 tonnes for every Nigerian. As a top polluter, Nigeria is expected to implement measures to reach the target of 20 percent unconditional greenhouse gas emission reductions by 2020, scale another target of 30 percent unconditional reduction by 2030 and to also put in place policies that reach the goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.

Thus, despite its late start, and beyond the submission of pledges known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), Nigeria's federal government has committed itself to mobilize funds and to channel efforts by governmental and non-governmental actors towards meeting its Climate Action targets.

Targets of the Climate Action deal

The Climate Action agreement requires Nigeria and her development partners to collaborate with relevant stakeholders and individuals to urgently undertake planned actions, projects and programmes as captured in its INDCs to combat climate change and its impact across the country.

To achieve the targets set by the Climate Action's SDG-13, Nigeria, like other signatories to the Paris Agreement, is expected to:

  1. Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries
  2. Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning
  3. Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning
  4. Implement the commitment undertaken by developed-country parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to a goal of mobilizing jointly $100 billion annually by 2020 from all sources to address the needs of developing countries in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation and fully operationalize the Green Climate Fund through its capitalization as soon as possible
  5. Promote mechanisms for raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in least developed countries and small-Island developing States, including focusing on women, youth and local and marginalized communities.

How has Nigeria fared so far in this historic race to save the planet? To what extent has the Nigerian government been able to mobilize personnel and material resources to achieve these targets?  Will Nigeria be able to meet the targets set under the Climate Action's SDG-13 by 2030?

This report takes a look at the progress recorded so far, and considers the prospects and the problems facing full compliance.

Climate change policy framework

Nigeria is yet to enact a specific climate change law that can provide a legal framework and enabling environment for the implementation of its climate action agenda. Despite repeated calls from stakeholders for the establishment of a National Climate Change Commission that will coordinate climate issues in Nigeria, a Bill to establish the Commission is yet to be presented to the National Assembly.

Although, the Federal Executive Council adopted a comprehensive strategy policy on climate change, the 'Nigeria Climate Change Policy Response and Strategy' in 2012, together with several environmental and sectoral policies, strategies, and plans where climate change adaptation could apply, experts say their application is limited by the lack of the required legislation.

According to Climate Scorecard, a non-profit organization that operates an interactive site where concerned parties can participate in post-Paris Agreement efforts to reduce emissions in the 25 top greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting countries, the lack of an enabling climate change law in Nigeria could hamper the country's climate change adaptation targets.

However, stakeholders are optimistic that the country's National Policy on Environment framework will guide its efforts to deal with the ever-growing environmental challenges if well implemented. Through the policy, Nigeria could foster sustainable development by means of national initiatives that strengthen the country's strategies on climate change preparedness, adaptation and mitigation across all sectors of society, including vulnerable groups.

The Federal Government took a crucial step when it established the Department of Climate Change, under the Federal Ministry of Environment to handle Nigeria's climate change issues. It also set up the National Climate Change Trust Fund (NCCTF) and the Environmental Sustainability Group (ESG) to design and attract financing mechanisms for adaptation initiatives.

Nonetheless, the challenge remains how the government can effectively address the country's increasing environmental and climate change challenges. The findings of this study show that Nigeria is still bedevilled by numerous issues that must be tackled before the country can make the desired progress towards meeting its Climate Action 2030 targets. The following major challenges remain:

Climate change adaptation

The 2016 Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI) classifies Nigeria as one of the ten most vulnerable countries in the world. The report published by the UK-based risk assessment company, Maplecroft, describes Nigeria as a country with "high risk in the southern part and extreme risk in the North".  It warns that climate change could result in a loss of between 6 percent and 30 percent of GDP by 2050, worth an estimated US$100-460 billion.  If no adaptation is implemented, Nigeria could lose an estimated 2-11 percent of its GDP by 2020, thereby hampering the national development goal of becoming one of the top 20 economies in the world.benoit

Although, the impact of climate change in Nigeria varies in extent, severity and intensity, with the North-eastern part of the country being the most vulnerable and the South-east the least, the country remains in the eye of the climate change storm. Recent studies confirm that climate change poses a significant threat to Nigeria's ambitious development goals, with the effects increasingly being felt in the economic sectors and areas of agriculture and food security, water, floods and drought, soil erosion, sea level rise, energy, tourism, and ecosystems.

Overcoming the development challenge of climate change requires that the Federal, States and Local Governments, as well as the private sector, take part in extensive adaptation and mitigation measures to reduce vulnerability to future climate change. Official policy statements indicate that the Federal Government will develop and implement a National Strategic Road Map for Responding to Climate Change in Nigeria and/or a National Climate Change Response Programme; domesticate the globally-agreed climate change regime of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), including but not limited to the implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and the Paris Agreement, and will participate effectively and on a continuous basis in global climate change negotiations.

The Federal Government has also expressed its readiness to implement the National Climate Change Policy and Response Strategy (NCCPRS) and the National Adaptation Strategy and Plan of Action for Climate Change Nigeria (NASPA-CCN 2011), and to develop and implement an Integrated Financial Strategy for Climate Change Response (IFSCCR). The NASPA-CCN 2011 document identifies a set of 13 sector-specific strategies, policies, programmes and measures for the country's climate change adaptation priorities.

Nigeria has also pledged to mainstream climate change into all sectors of the national economy, promote evidence-based research in climate change and raise awareness on climate change mitigation and adaptation opportunities among stakeholders at all levels, and to strengthen its national climate change institutional structure and governance to include active participation by the States and the Local Governments.

Mitigation strategy

Nigeria's INDC includes an unconditional contribution to reduce GHG emissions by 20 per cent below business as usual projections by 2030, and a conditional contribution of 45 per cent, based on commitment of international support. To achieve this target, Nigeria must implement policies and projects that will reduce GHG emissions in five sectors.

In the energy sector, for instance, Nigeria must invest more in renewable energy, especially decentralized or off-grid power solutions, multi-cycle power stations, scalable power stations of 20-50 megawatts (MW) and enforcement of energy efficiency of 2 per cent per year and 30 per cent by 2030. Nigeria's National Renewable Energy Action Plan sets out how renewable energy is expected to develop and expand in order to achieve the national target of 23 per cent and 31per cent renewable energy in 2020 and 2030 respectively.

It should also be noted that so far, Nigeria has performed poorly in global renewable energy transfers.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) is working towards establishing a system of feed-in tariffs in electricity, as well as other incentives to ensure that the country's ambitions for renewable energy are supported and have the required investment. Nigeria is also exploring the Green Funds option supported by Green Bonds to help fund the expansion of renewable energy in the country.

Deforestation, the second largest contributor to global warming also must be tackled. Although Nigeria may not have the financial resources or sophisticated technology to mitigate climate change, the country is endowed with a mosaic of natural ecosystems that have the capacity for carbon sequestration.  Experts advocate the aggressive implementation of policies, programmes and projects that will scale down emissions from deforestation and environmental degradation in the country.

Fortunately the Federal Government has made provision for forest regeneration in the 2017 Budget.  Notable in this regard is the planned establishment of 10 hectares of Acacia-Senegal in Zamfara State to increase forest cover and mitigate the effects of drought and climate change in the state.

The country will also switch to natural gas rather than fossil fuels, enact and enforce laws or regulations that will end gas flaring in the country, and pursue aggressive climate-smart agriculture and reforestation. The use of charcoal as domestic cooking fuel will need to be phased out, while Nigeria will also adopt green technology in industry and energy-friendly infrastructure and transport systems.

Climate change advocacy

A recent climate change awareness survey conducted by British World Service Trust shows that most Nigerians are not aware of climate change, despite its impact on their day-to-day activities, and that little or no attention has been paid to alarming changes in weather patterns such as excessive flooding, increased aridity and intense the desert encroachment witnessed in northern Nigeria, the drying of Lake Chad and dwindling flow of the Niger Basin and other major waterways with the attendant poor agricultural yield, communal clashes over natural resource management and siltation of river basins.

It has also been observed that national efforts to address environmental issues have not been broad-based or wide-reaching enough.  Access to timely and accurate information on the environment is still restricted, while little progress has been made towards inclusive implementation of the country's INDC at all levels.

The importance of environmental education and public awareness in creating a broad-based environmental management involving many and varied stakeholders cannot be over-emphasized.  There is already some collaboration among relevant government institutions and agencies, state governments, the private sector, civil society and the general public towards implementation of the Federal Government's climate action initiatives, but there is plenty of scope for improvement.  The government has embarked on States-wide Climate Change Knowledge Immersion workshops as part of the efforts to sensitize and mobilize stakeholders to this end.

ibrahimNigeria's former Environment Minister Amina Mohammed explained that the workshops which focused on "Accelerating Climate-Resilient and Low-Carbon Development," were a call to action which would go a long way towards ensuring knowledge delivery and experience sharing. They would enable knowledge dissemination and set out the role to be played by various stakeholders in implementing sectoral and multi-sectoral climate actions to accelerate climate-resilient and low-carbon development across the country.

Mohammed said that the Nigerian government was committed to empowering the Nigerian people to participate in taking climate action and protecting the environment:

"This commitment is also reflected in the sector-wide implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) using a participatory approach to accelerate resilience and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)."

Such enlightenment campaigns are expected to facilitate the implementation of climate change adaptation strategies and mobilize stakeholders and citizens to work to mitigate the impact of climate change.

Nigeria's climate change funding

According to recent estimates by the World Bank Group, Nigeria requires about $140billion to achieve its climate action goals and meet its NDC targets by 2030. That means the country needs to spend about $10 billion or about N3 trillion annually for the next 14 years to achieve low carbon-growth and stand a better chance of meeting its targets. The funds are needed for massive investments in clean energy, environmentally friendly infrastructure, agriculture and large scale remediation, and to create green jobs for the country's young population.

With the implementation of Nigeria's INDC formally commencing this year, the Federal Government is working to mobilize the necessary resources for climate friendly projects.  The sum of N8 billion has already been earmarked for implementation of the country's NDCs on climate change in the 2017 Appropriation Bill. According the Director of the Department of Climate Change, Dr Peter Tarfa, that sum will be dedicated to climate change efforts and projects that cut across the government's Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as part of efforts to achieve the set goals of reducing carbon emissions by 25 percent by the year 2030.

However, experts insist government funding alone cannot meet the kind of investment the country needs to meet its climate action targets.  The World Bank's Practice Manager for Environment and Natural Resources, Benoit Bosquet, advises that Nigeria's best chance of raising the capital needed to meet the country's climate change commitments and control its impact on the country is to quickly mobilize private sector funding and participation.

In February 2017, the Federal Government started its plan to raise money from the private sector for its climate change action programme by becoming the third country after France and Poland to float Green Bonds. Nigeria's Green Bonds offering, the first of its kind in Africa, is a partnership initiative between the Federal Ministry of Environment and the Nigerian Stock Exchange.  It aims to mobilize about $2 billion (N700 billion) in private capital investments for green technology, sustainable agriculture and the environment in the country.

Minister of State for the Environment, Ibrahim Jubril, explained that Green Bonds are designed to help Nigeria overcome the challenge of accessing international funding for climate-friendly projects for the priority sectors of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) sector road-maps, which are targeted at reducing average global carbon emissions to two degrees Celsius: "Once we have people who are willing to invest in programmes or projects that will assist in mitigation of climate change, the Bonds will go a long way to assist us."

Justine Leigh Bell, Climate Bonds' global Director of Market Development said that Green Bonds are crucial in helping a country like Nigeria meet its climate change targets.

Nigeria will also be looking to tap into the $8.3 billion Climate Investment Fund (CIF) to develop clean technology, sustainable management of forests, renewable energy access and climate resilient development.

Several other funding schemes such as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), have been adapted globally to support climate change mitigation and adaptation. However, Nigeria is barely able to benefit from these global resources due to a number of factors such as stringent CDM funding guidelines and inadequate private sector engagement in climate change programmes.

Factors militating against Nigeria's mitigation efforts

Poor management of natural resources: Nigeria is yet to find ways to tackle environment-unfriendly practices such as large-scale deforestation and land clearing, inappropriate and illegal mining, excessive irrigation, water supply, inappropriate use of agrochemicals and inorganic fertilizers, uncontrolled and poor livestock farming practices and gas flaring. Chief Phillip Asiodu, President of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) noted that Nigeria has lost about 30 percent of its forest cover from 1960 to date, due to deforestation and habitat degrading activities such as forest clearance for farmlands, logging and unsuitable land use practices.

He said that at independence, Nigeria had about 35 percent forest cover, but today, the figure is less than five percent. He added that Nigeria must devote more energy on advocacy while supporting massive tree planting initiatives throughout the country.

Lack of environmentally friendly technology: Recent studies show that one of the major challenges facing Nigeria as a developing country remains its poor attitude towards adoption and use of environmentally sound technologies (ESTs) in its development policies, programmes and projects. The country's natural resources exploitation, energy consumption, production processes, infrastructural development and transport systems still rely heavily on technologies that contribute to environmental pollution, create solid and electronic waste and habitat degradation.

Land degradation and desertification: Severe land degradation continues to ravage the country, resulting in a drastic reduction in the productivity of land resources. Reducing the rate and severity of desertification and reversing land degradation remain a key challenge for environmental sustainability and sustainable development in Nigeria.

Pollution: Pollution continues to be a major environmental challenge in the country, with a significant impact on the well-being of the country's environment and the health of its people.

Urban decay: Nigeria ranks among the most urbanized countries in the world with the rate about 56 per cent in 2015. The pace of urbanization increase has been such that maintenance of modest environmental standards has inevitably lagged behind.

Coastal management: Nigeria's coastal region suffers degradation from diverse human activities, particularly oil exploration and exploitation, agricultural and industrial development.  Efforts to address critical environmental problems in the country's coastal areas and marine environment have mainly been lethargic.

Weak environmental governance: Weak and fragmented environmental governance remains a major bane of environmental sustainability in the country. Many of the institutions dealing with environmental issues have weak capacity. They are too under-funded and ineffective in their core functions to have a meaningful effect on environmental sustainability.

Private sector participation: Nigeria's efforts to address climate change still suffer from low participation by the private sector, which– as a major player in market forces – must be fully involved in environmental management. Improving the level of private sector participation in environmental management to take economic responsibility for damage done to the environment is critical.

Time wasting: Experts have been clear that Nigeria, just like other countries, does not have the luxury of time in the bid to save the planet from catastrophe. It is predicted that climate change will worsen Nigeria's vulnerability if not addressed in time.

Progress report: Nigeria is struggling to produce its first Biennial Update Report (BUR) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The BUR is being prepared, taking into account the GHG emission level of different sectors of the economy, such as energy, oil and gas, transportation and agriculture. It is undertaken in order to improve transparency during the process of tracking mitigation progress of national GHG emission of countries who are parties to the Convention (UNFCCC), thereby reinforcing ambition at a global level and providing the information basis for planning and implementing mitigation action.

Supporting institutions

Nigeria's Climate Action effort has attracted the support of international and national development finance institutions, non-governmental organizations and corporate bodies. Key institutions such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank are already supporting some projects designed to address the impact of climate change across Nigeria.

The Global Change Strategies International Inc (GCSI) of Canada is involved in efforts to tackle climate change in Nigeria, and is partnering with the Nigerian Environmental Study Action Team (NEST) on a wide range of climate change capacity development projects. Nigeria has also received financial support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) for the development of its BUR on Climate Change efforts.

read the rest

SDGs Monitor President Mohammadu Buhari Amina Mohammed Benoit Bosquet Ibrahim Jubril