LAGOS: THE United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID)is confident of Nigeria’s political and economic growth prospects despite a number of challenges the West African country is facing.
“A peaceful, more democratic and prosperous Nigeria, meeting the basic needs of its citizens, is possible within a generation,” DFID said in a report, released on Thursday, outlining its operational plan for the current year, The department said progress in Nigeria would only be achieved by reducing internal conflicts, deepening democracy and building the confidence of investors.
Poor governance and ongoing instability undermine Nigeria’s prosperity, political and economic reforms and any fundamental attempts to improve security, DFID said.
It said its governance and conflict programmes were helping to address the causes of fragility – in the north and Delta, between ethnic groups, and by addressing the needs of the most impoverished states.
“The large expansion of DFID’s work in northern Nigeria – doubling the number of states in which DFID focuses its work – is delivering more direct support to poor people, helping to change the lives of many more girls and women, and helping to close the huge Millennium Development Goals gaps in this region.”
DFID said in the North East, it was is supporting local peacebuilding organisations and providing technical support to federal government programmes to address underlying socio-economic issues.
The UK department said better governance in Nigeria required strengthening democracy and the way government worked at federal and state levels, the latter being so important because states are responsible for half of all public expenditure.
It said it was supporting federal and state governments use their resources more effectively, including technical support for better financial management and investment, public sector reform and accountability.
“Technical support and innovation by DFID projects can leverage much greater changes in the quality of government, infrastructure, health and education services.”
Meanwhile, DFID said it would provide support to make the 2015 elections more credible and less violent.
“No UK aid will go through government budgets, to protect against corruption and avoid substituting Nigerian public resources.”
SOURCE: CAJ NEWS AGENCY