The United Nations Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) has signed N600 million Memorandum of Understanding with Niger Government for the 2017 annual work plan.
The Officer in Charge, UNICEF Kaduna Field Office, Idris Baba, stated this on Thursday in Minna, the state capital.
He said that it was the last plan of the four-year country programme that UNICEF was running with Niger government and was designed to run from 2014 to 2017.
Mr. Baba said that the four-year plan was part of UNICEF commitment to give intervention and assistance to Niger state government in four key areas.
He said the areas include; maternal and new born child component, communication for development, basic education and media relations.
He disclosed that immediately after the 2017 plan, UNICEF will develop a five-year plan with Niger government that would run from 2018 to 2022 to cover another five-year period.
“We signed one MoU in 2014; one in 2015, one in 2016 and we are signing the last bit of the four-year’s plan in 2017.
“The plan is meant to guide us to commit ourselves in ensuring that we deliver results to children and women in Niger state.
“We also use the plan to mark commitment because we share the same goals and vision for children and women of Niger state and to ensure that some amount of money is meant for bettering the lives of women and children in the state,’’ he said.
Mr. Baba, however, commended the state government for its continuous support and for providing enabling environment for UNICEF activities in the state.
Responding, Bello, commended UNICEF intervention programme in the state, adding that such intervention had impacted positively on the lives of women and children.
He urged UNICEF to increase its areas of intervention to the development of infrastructures, especially in primary and secondary schools in the state.
According to him, there was deficit of infrastructure in the educational sector that needed urgent attention from state government and our development partners.
“There is massive deficit of infrastructure in our public schools. We have spent a lot of money in renovating nine schools, and as government we cannot do it all alone.
“As state, we will continue to contribute our quota and increase our budget, especially in education sector so as to bridge the gap,’’ he said.
Mr. Bello advised UNICEF to make its area of intervention and activities known in the state by using the media to publicise its activities for people to key in.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr. Bello signed the MoU on behalf of the state government, while Baba signed on behalf of UNICEF.