KADUNA State in the North West geo-political zone of Nigeria stands out as a pace-setter in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of the state is passionate about the global goals and therefore his administration has integrated the SDGs into the Kaduna State Development Plan (SDP) 2016 to 2020.
The governor is optimistic that this measure will enable the state improve livelihoods, invest in education and ensure access to life-saving services. He also believes that the implementation of the SDGs will boost environmental sustainability as well as guarantee social cohesion and peace for its citizens.
The first step taken by the Kaduna State government on its journey to sustainable development was to generate sufficient data to understand where it stands in relation to the global goals, and to help guide policy interventions to target the deepest and most persistent pockets of poverty.
The state government invested heavily in establishing the State Statistical system to enable it get accurate data that will guide decision making. Indeed, shortly after the launch of the SDGs in September 2015, the state conducted and concluded two General Household Surveys (KDGHS), two Annual School Censuses, a state gross domestic product (GDP) Survey (KDGDP), a population dynamics survey and an Agricultural Structure Survey (KASS).
The data generated from the surveys helped the state to develop clear action plans on the way forward, especially with regards to the implementation of the SDGs.
Launch of SDGs Report at the UN
Kaduna State made history on September 20, 2017 when it became the first state in Nigeria to present an in-depth analysis of its SDGs data and strategy for implementation at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Barnabas Yusuf Bala, Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, while presenting the state's SDGs Report on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, regretted that the progress of the preceding the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was limited by the failure to integrate the goals throughout the diverse activities of government.
He said the Kaduna State government decided to prepare a comprehensive report on SDGs in order to effectively track the implementation process. Bala highlighted the key policy actions of the SDGs in Kaduna State, the progress so far made and concluded with actions for the state to consider going forward. He said the data which formed the basis of the report was generated by the Kaduna State Bureau of Statistics following the passage of the Kaduna Bureau of Statistics and Statistical System Law of 2013. According to him, the law outlined a clear strategy for Kaduna State Data Revolution Master plan. “In 2015, the State Executive Council declared a data revolution and since then has invested heavily in establishing the State statistical system and is climbing a steep learning-curve. To fill the gaping hole in the State's data, the Bureau has conducted a range of innovative new surveys and institutionalised the role of data in planning and monitoring across government,” Bala said.
The Deputy Governor added that key SDGs indicators are now routinely used to measure the state's progress, aligning its development trajectory with those of the Federal Government of Nigeria and the rest of the world.
Bala exuded confidence that the Kaduna State government will spin the wheel of development at a much faster pace if it achieves the SDGs by the target date of 2030. “To this end, the Kaduna State Development Plan 2016 to 2020 has fully integrated the SDGs and specifies concerted policy actions to help achieve each goal,” Bala said.
He noted that the goals of the Kaduna State Development Plan which align with the SDGs were geared towards achieving inclusive economic growth and socio-economic transformation that translates into substantial improvements in the quality of lives of citizens, through higher productivity and competitiveness.
Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations said that through the report, the Kaduna State government has demonstrated the political will and commitment to accelerate progress at the sub-national level on the SDGs. “I commend this initiative of an SDGs report and welcome the evidence it provides for results at the local level,” she said.
Edward Kallon, UNDP Resident Representative in Nigeria described the report as ground-breaking. “The Kaduna State government has evidently demonstrated her unequivocal commitment to and laid a firm foundation for tracking and reporting progress on SDG targets at state level; and more broadly, localising Agenda 2030 and thus moving the state and her people towards the great promise of peace and prosperity,” he added. Muhammad Sani Abdullahi, Kaduna State Commissioner for Budget and Planning told SDGs Monitor that the staff of the Kaduna State Planning and Budget Commission worked tirelessly with the State SDGs Office to produce the report. He acknowledged the support the state government received from development partners; civil society and the private sector in its adoption of the SDGs. He believes that with team work, perseverance and commitment, the Kaduna State government will continue to implement the SDGs so as to achieve all the 17 global goals, particularly poverty alleviation, enhancing quality education, promoting gender equality as well as addressing the challenges of peace, justice and strong institutions.
Despite its rich culture and history, Kaduna State remains economically poor. Indeed, the state has over the years, suffered from widespread poverty, particularly in rural areas. While labour is abundant, the other key inputs to development – human capital, material capital and technology- are all in extremely short supply, preventing the private sector from expanding and the economy from developing new capacities.
The result is that up to 84.9% of residents earn less than the international poverty line of $1.90 per day (KDGHS 2017). According to the 2017 General Household Survey conducted by the Kaduna State Bureau of Statistics, poverty in the state is experienced most by women, the young, the unemployed and those living in rural areas.
The United Nations report on Nigeria's Poverty Index conducted in 2014 put the poverty rate of Kaduna State at 56.5%. The foregoing indices show clearly that the scourge of poverty in the state is widespread.
To address the problem, the state government is increasingly redirecting its investments towards poverty reduction. For instance, 23.4% of its capital budget for 2017 was targeted to directly tackle poverty, while the remainder also addresses poverty indirectly, through the provision of new infrastructure. For example, 415 kilometres of roads have been completed to support easier access to markets for farmers and better productivity for urban workers. This has had an immediate impact, with the proportion of households reporting good access to roads rising from 66.2% in 2015 to 76.8% in 2017 (KDGHS 2015 & 2017). Since 2015, several communities have been connected to the state electricity grid, raising the proportion of households connected to grid from 68.7% to 75.4% (KDGHS 2015 to 2017).
For the most vulnerable groups, including women and the poor, approximately 9.9% of recurrent spending and 25.1% of capital spending were allocated to overcome the constraints of poverty.
Current spending on vulnerable groups to alleviate poverty:
Capital spending 25.1%
Recurrent spending 9.9%
Source: Kaduna State Budget, 2017
The Kaduna State government is also alleviating poverty through the strengthening of agro-food value chains, improving agricultural productivity and enhancing access to markets. Currently, agriculture constitutes 36.75% of Kaduna's economy (KDGDP 2017). About 42.6% of the workforce is employed in agriculture (KASS 2017) producing 22% of the country's maize. However, the volatility of incomes and food production coupled with weak social protection and insurance systems have left many households vulnerable to food insecurity, at least on a seasonal basis.
To boost food production, the Kaduna State government has made substantial investment in the agriculture sector, including investment in easing the supply of crucial inputs. It is equally providing training and support for commercial farming. In Kubau Local Government Area, 5,000 youths have been supported to cultivate maize, rice and beans for local consumption and export. In Kachia Local Government Area, government has invested in the grazing reserves and about 30,000 youths have been supported with funds to cultivate beans for export.
In addition, the Kaduna State government has keyed into the Anchor Borrowers' Programme (ABP) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). About 11,179 farmers from the state have been able to access credit through the ABP and this has enabled them to go into commercial agriculture.
Another illustration of the State government's integrated approach to poverty reduction is the Millennium Villagers Model currently being scaled-up in three pilot communities – Banki in Kubau LGA; Unguwahan Wahala in Kajuru LGA and Unguwan Moro'a in Jeme'a LGA. This will combine intensive interventions in agriculture, health education and infrastructure sectors to simultaneously tackle the barriers to improved livelihoods.
A major pillar of the state's agriculture-support policy is the promotion of private investment in commercial agriculture. So far, three major companies have invested $200 million in the state's agricultural sector in the last two years. They are Vicampro Farms Limited which invested $120million into potato processing plant, Olam International which invested $100 million into its integrated animal feed mills and Dangote Industries which invested $10 million into its tomato processing plant. These private investments have helped in alleviating poverty because they have provided employment opportunities for thousands of people, reduced post-harvest losses and created more integrated markets.
Besides, the World Bank's Commercial Agriculture Development and FADAMA Projects have helped establish aggregation centres and poultry farms.
The Kaduna State government is supporting entrepreneurship programme by targeting university graduates and training them at the Kaduna Business School, where they acquire skills to produce business plans. Such business plans are financed through government's intervention funds for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with the Bank of Industry (BoI) and the Bank of Agriculture (BoA).
Enhancing quality education
The Kaduna State government acknowledges the importance of a functional education system that is accessible by all and responsive to the requirements of the 21st century skills. Governor El-Rufai contends that the 2030 target date for the realization of the SDGs would be a mere dream if the education sector in Kaduna State is not fixed to meet the challenges of the times.
Consequently, on assumption of office in 2015, El-Rufai resolved to push through the total overhauling of the education sector, especially in the area of funding and teachers' training. The Governor recalled that the educational system he inherited was comatose as most of the 4,200 primary schools in the state were in various conditions of dilapidation. “In most of these schools, at least 50 per cent of the pupils took lesson on the floor because there was no furniture,'' he said. The government responded by introducing the schools rehabilitation programme to provide decent classrooms, furniture, water and toilet facilities. By January 2017, about 500 of the schools had been rehabilitated at the cost of about N6 billion. According Governor El-Rufai, after a review of the cost, the demographic trend and the level of overcrowding in the classrooms, the government has decided to build multi-storey school blocks with more classrooms to accommodate 30 to 40 pupils per class.
The governor added that the administration had expanded access to education by making the first nine years of basic schooling free. El-Rufai said that his administration equally introduced free feeding in primary schools. This had raised enrolment in primary schools from 1.5 million pupils in June 2015 to 2.1 million pupils in September 2016.
It noteworthy that Kaduna is one of the states in Nigeria which has benefitted from National Home-grown School Feeding Programme, one of the Social Investment Programmes (SIP) of the Federal Government. According to the Presidency, Kaduna State received a total of N499, 985,500 while 835,508 pupils have been fed so far. Also, a total of 9,857 cooks were paid under the programme in the state. With 3,325 schools, Kaduna State has the highest number of schools so far covered under the programme, as well as the highest number of school children who have been fed.
To further demonstrate its dedication towards raising the standard of education, the Kaduna State government had earmarked N45 billion for education in 2017. Part of the fund has been used to improve the capacity of teachers.
To further enhance quality teaching, learning and management of public and private primary and secondary schools in the state, the government constituted the Kaduna State Quality Assurance Board to evaluate them. Mrs Maureen Wyom, Executive Director of the Board said recently that it has evaluated 1,710 public and private primary and secondary schools in the state in the last three years. She described the school evaluation as an annual exercise designed to assess the performance of schools with respect to quality to enable the state plan for a better outcome the following year. “After the evaluation, the board writes a report called the “State of Education Report”, indicating the level of quality in education delivery system and management in each school within a year. The report is then submitted to the office of the Governor and other relevant agencies for appropriate action and interventions where necessary,” Wyom said.
She noted that additional efforts have also been made to improve the quality of teachers through the training of 20,470 teachers. Government has improved lifelong learning through the restocking of libraries with 4,656 books, the opening of 250 basic literacy centres, 115 post-literacy centres and four continuing education centres.
The Kaduna State government is leaving nothing to chance in its efforts to ensure quality teaching. Worried by the incompetence of some of the primary school teachers in the school system, the Kaduna State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) had in June, 2017 conducted a competency test for them with primary four examination questions. Nasir Umar, Chairman of SUBEB explained that out of the 33,000 teachers that sat for the examination, 21,780 failed to score the 75% agreed benchmark while only 11,000 got 75% and more. Owing to the mass failure, Governor El-Rufai has directed the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology to recruit 25,000 new teachers to replace those who failed in order to restore quality to education in the state. “The hiring of teachers in the past was politicised and we intend to change that by bringing in young and qualified primary school teachers to restore the dignity of education in the state,” the governor said.
The Kaduna State government is also implementing the Educating Nigeria Girls in New Enterprises (ENGIN) programme in 46 secondary schools. This has helped to improve learning outcomes for 3,493 girls in critical subjects, especially English, Science and Mathematics.
To encourage information, communication and technology (ICT) skills, 5,000 tablets have been provided to senior secondary schools through a donation by NNPC/Exxon Mobil.
The Kaduna State government has taken a strong stance in support of women's rights and gender equality, beginning with the appointment of many women into the state's cabinet. Gender desk offices have also been assigned to every ministry, department and agency.
However, in the Kaduna State House of Assembly, none of the members is a female. Nevertheless, the State House of Assembly is currently debating the passage of the Gender Equality Bill.
Substantial investments have been made to support women's development through the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development. This includes the active training and sponsorship of women to become medical doctors, with 36 female students who commenced studies in Uganda in 2016. To support the literacy and numeracy of girls who have exited school early due to early marriage, 23 girl-child centres have been established across the state. The government decided to set up the centres because latest data from the Kaduna State Bureau of Statistics indicates that 44% of girls in the state aged 20 – 24 were married before the age of 15 while 65% of girls aged 20 – 24 were married before the age of 18.
The Kaduna State government is equally making efforts to empower women. In May, 2017, Hadiza Isma El-Rufai, wife of the governor organised a women empowerment summit in Kaduna with the theme: “Enabling Access & Participation: Linking Women to Resources.” The event focused on how to empower women so that they can gain adequate financial independence as well as protecting the girl-child.
Hajia Hafsat Mohammed Baba, Kaduna State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, said the summit was imperative because the empowerment of women is the key to a prosperous future for the state.
Earlier in November 2016, the United Nations Women in partnership with Zamani Foundation had launched a “one woman one ID card” project aimed at increasing the level of financial inclusion among women in the state. Ms Adjaratou Ndiaye, UN Women Representative said that the project being piloted in Kaduna State will empower 70% of Nigerian women living below the poverty line. “The possession of a national ID card is a fundamental stage to women's participation in political governance, access to financial resources, and their protection as full citizens of the nation,” Ndiaye said.
Amina Zamani, International Project Coordinator, Zamani Foundation, added that the idea was not just to give the women ID cards but to train them on how to invest in business and empower them financially. She said the scheme is targeted at empowering 5,000 women in the state to reduce poverty because “when you empower a woman you have empowered the nation.”
Promoting productive employment and decent work
The structure of Kaduna State's in primary agriculture and informal trading and service, has historically limited opportunities for sustained growth and productive employment.
The latest survey by the Kaduna State Bureau of Statistics indicates that young people face the greatest difficulties in securing employment. While 35.4% of persons aged between 15 and 35 are unemployed, only 19.2% of those aged between 36 and 59 are unemployed. The figure fell further to 8.4% among those aged between 60 and 64.
The Kaduna State government is worried by this data which shows that more than 60% of the age group who can contribute greatly to the state's development are unemployed. To equip the youths with the requisite skills that will enable them secure employment, the state government has made it possible for them to undergo training in skills acquisition centres. To provide the youths with skills for the new economy, they have been mentored to become entrepreneurs and supported with the requisite funds. Over 300 graduates from the state have accessed loans to support new businesses under the Kaduna Start-up and Entrepreneurship Programme (KADSTEP). KADSTEP is a massive job creation initiative jointly organised by the Kaduna State government, the Bank of Industry (BoI) and Kaduna Business School. The goal is to engage about 4,500 eligible young men and women resident in the state to pursue productive enterprise development initiatives. About 400 youth are being trained in construction industry trades through the Kaduna Artisan Training Academy (KADAT) while the practical training for tradesmen in electrical technology and electronics is done through the Kaduna Electrical, Electronics and Energy Academy (KADEEEA).
Since 2015, at least 60,000 jobs have been secured by many youths through private sector investments in Kaduna State and public sector employment. In addition, 5,523 candidates have benefitted from the national N-Power job creation initiative.
More broadly, the adoption of an Ease of Doing Business Charter is supporting the continued expansion of a dynamic private sector. In 2016 alone, over $385million in private investment was attracted to the state and the multiplier effect in terms of creation of employment opportunities has been massive.
Kaduna State has continuously improved the welfare of its workers. It is one of the few states of in Nigeria which has no outstanding salaries and pension obligations to workers and retired public servants.
Although Kaduna State is landlocked without any coastal or marine resources to directly manage, it has invested in better management of its extensive network of rivers. It has ensured sustainable dredging and improvements in water quality.
A major threat to livelihoods is the possibility of natural disasters, which disproportionately affect the vulnerable. In Kaduna State, the most immediate threat is from flooding. Limited data is available on the impact of disasters, but the Kaduna State government has developed and implemented a disaster risk reduction policy to raise awareness and increase preparedness for any natural disaster through the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA).
Peace, justice and strong institutions
The El-Rufai administration is committed to the promotion of peace, justice and strong institutions. It is therefore working relentlessly to integrate residents of the state into a harmonious just society.
Communications with citizens and the promotion of active participation have been supported through town hall meetings and the development of citizens' feedback app that enlists citizens to provide feedback on public service delivery.
Kaduna, like some states in the country, has suffered several conflicts over the years which have claimed many lives and property, especially in the southern part of the state. To address the problem, government set up a committee headed by former Chief of Defence Staff, Lt. Gen. Martins Agwai, which looked into the incessant invasion and killing of people by armed gangs in Southern Kaduna. The recommendations of the committee have helped to restore peace in the area and other parts of the state.
To improve accesses to justice, many customary courts have been constructed and while others have been renovated in line with the World Bank's recent recognition of the valuable role of 'legal pluralism' (WBWDR 2017). Recently, there have been a range of reforms geared towards improving the efficiency of the judiciary.
Certainly, the Kaduna State government is through its laudable programmes, policies and interventions building a resilient society where peace and justice reign.