The immediate past Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has called on the private sector and non-governmental organizations(NGOs) to assist the nation fulfil the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the Federal Government lacks the funds to pursue the targets.
According to him, “the government does not have the balance sheet anywhere; the balance sheet is overstretched. Much of the government’s revenues have been used in debt servicing. So, the private sector and NGO partners must come in to address some of the most serious issues, especially , around security, education and healthcare,” he said.
The former CBN boss then called for collaboration among all stakeholders to deliver on the SDGs, saying it was something that could not be left to the government alone.
Sanusi, who stated this at the Lafarge Africa Plc’s Sustainability Webinar Series: ‘Co-creating Value through Best Practices in Private Public Partnership & Impact Assessment’ , lamented that rising insecurity, herders/farmers crisis , among others, are the fallout of government’s failure to pay attention to the SDGs, spearheaded by the United Nations.
He reasoned that COVID-19 was threatening to worsen the nation’s poverty and security challenges, although he noted that the problems pre-dated the pandemic.
His words: “People talk about COVID-19, but I talk about pre-existing conditions. I would say Nigeria as a country has pre-existing conditions before COVID-19 hit.
‘’When you have a country where in some parts, like Zamfara State, for example, over 90 per cent are living in extreme poverty, when you have a country where in terms of the population, we have now overtaken India as the poverty capital of the world and this was before COVID-19 hit, and when you read all the forecasts of the World Bank that another five to 10 million people might be thrown into extreme poverty as a result of COVID-19, we begin to realise the enormity of the problems that we have.
“The challenges we have as a nation around insecurity, herdsmen/farmers clashes, Boko Haram, banditry, most of them have to do with not paying sufficient attention to the SDGs. I really think that this is the time we really need to have this conversation.
“We have not paid enough attention to certain elements of the SDGs. Malnutrition is a big problem. When I look at the numbers, when I look at states like Kano, for instance, 58 percent of the under five children have chronic malnutrition and this is typical of most of the North-West and North-East parts of the country.
“Now, when you have one in two children having chronic malnutrition, you can imagine what is going to happen in the next 15 to 20 years of the young people with all the cognitive implications and that is the future that we are building.”