UNICEF Sign N2.5bn Programmes Support Fund with Niger State

By Alex Uangbaoje, Kaduna

As part of plans to increase support in all areas of intervention that concerns children and women, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), on Friday signed N2.5 billion 2018 support funds with the Niger State Government for implementation of programmes.

Dr Zakari Adam, the Chief Field Officer of UNICEF, Kaduna, said at the signing ceremony in Minna that the organisation would continue to build and improve on the long term collaboration with the state government.

He explained that UNICEF was in partnership with the state government in three programmes which included health, nutrition and education, in addition to sectoral support in communication development and external relations.

Adam commended the state government for its revitalisation of Primary Health Care facilities per ward, noting that the state would continue to remain polio free through the commitment to the polio eradication initiative of the state task force on immunisation.

He also commended the governor for his commitment to mobilising domestic resources to finance nutrition and the release of N10 million for procurement of Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) in 2017.

“We want to appeal to Mr Governor to make provision for adequate counterpart funding for the procurement of RUTF in the annual budget and ensure timely release of budgeted funds for RUTF,” he said.

Adam pledged that UNICEF would continue to support the state security apparatus for innovative programming in emergency as part of the humanitarian response to some issues in local councils.

He appealed to the governor to ensure timely release of funds so as to scale up intervention in health, nutrition and education while jointly providing necessary services to enhance government and UNICEF collaboration.

Responding, Gov. Abubakar Bello of Niger commended UNICEF for the long existing partnership with the state and called for continuous collaboration on areas of intervention involving children and women.

The governor, who urged UNICEF to ensure full implementation and funding of the 2018 state engagement plan in the state, gave an assurance that the state would pay its counterpart fund.

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