Development: FG inaugurates aid transition working group

Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma, Minister of Budget and National Planning.

Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, said on Thursday that the Federal Government has inaugurated the Technical Working Group for the Nigeria Aid Transition Plan (TWG-NATIP).

The mandate of TWG-NAPIT is to develop a comprehensive strategy for addressing the funding gap that may arise with the scaling down of development partner funding to Nigeria.

According to a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr Akpandem James in Abuja, the minister said at the inauguration of the group that the initiative was in line with the resolve of the current administration.

He said the initiative was aimed at driving effective planning as the bedrock of its developmental strategy and be pro-active in the face of emerging challenges.

Udoma said the country’s relationship with international development partners was evolving because of the graduation of the nation to a middle-income country.

He said that the country’s relationship with development partners was evolving with the implication of the country being at risk of losing access to some concessionary funding windows.

“The funding gap created by the withdrawal of donor funding to critical programmes of government would, therefore, require additional government expenditure to cover the shortfall.

“In view of the potential fiscal and other implications of these changes, including larger debt burden to ensure sustainable development in Nigeria, it is important for us to seek an orderly aid transition”, he said.

Udoma, however, appreciated the amounts development partners had been contributing every year to the growth and development of the economy.

He said Nigeria had to be proactive and plan for how to cover the funding gap that might result following the evolving development.

He commended the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government involved for the work already carried out to ensure effective management of development assistant programmes in Nigeria.

The minister charged the group to consolidate on the efforts and develop a comprehensive strategy for addressing the challenge of aid scaling down in Nigeria.

Udoma said the strategy would serve a dual purpose with the inclusion of a credible decision framework for mainstreaming affected programmes into the budget.

“It would also serve as a medium to make a case for delay in aid transition where feasible”.

According to him, the TWG-NATP is chaired by the Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation and he will be reporting to him (the minister)

Members of the TWG are drawn from the Ministries of Budget and National Planning, Finance, Health, Education, Agriculture and National Bureau of Statistics as well as the Debt Management Office.