20 April 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has commended the Federal Government of Nigeria for the recent launch of its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, which is aimed at revamping the economy and setting the country on a sustainable economic growth path.
The UNDP Resident Representative, Edward Kallon, made the commendation in Abuja at the launch of UNDP’s 2016 Human Development Report.
Kallon also expressed optimism that “Nigeria has what it takes to surmount its challenges” and pledged the support of the world body in this regard.
He said Nigeria with its several medium-term policies and programmes was capable of keeping its economy on a positive development trajectory.
He said this was because the ERGP focused on restoring growth, investing in people and building a globally competitive economy.
The UNDP boss also expressed satisfaction on the feat recorded by Nigeria in the Human Development Index where it recorded 13.1 per cent increase between 2005 and 2015.
The country representative, however, called for tougher policies to sustain gains made in human development index.
Kallon decried that issues such as insecurity and the drop in prices of export commodities which were major earners in sub-Saharan Africa was fast eroding on this gains
He noted that Nigeria was being faced with two major problems of economic recession and humanitarian crisis.
Kallon said: “We are all aware of the humanitarian crisis in the North-East of the country and the looming famine in that region.
“Although efforts by humanitarian development actors, under the leadership of the Government have yielded significant results. Many challenges remain as an estimated 8.5 million people in that region are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance; over 5 million remain food insecure.
“And, some 50,000 children are at IPC level five of food insecurity. The need for action, especially for the children, couldn’t be more urgent.”
He advised the government to utilise the opportunity provided by the national launch of this report to address the twin problems of economic recession and humanitarian crisis facing the country.
Kallon advised that the nation should utilise the opportunity provided by the report to promote policy dialogue at both national and sub-national levels.
Besides, he called on Nigeria to urgently find lasting solution to these challenges in order to bring about enduring development in the country.
Kallon said: “The report shows that between 2005 and 2015, Nigeria’s HDI increased from 0.466 to 0.527 or 13.1 per cent increase.
“This is encouraging, but given the humanitarian challenges already alluded to, and the economic recession witnessed in 2016, there is an urgent need to design policies and programmes to ensure that the upward trend in human development is not reversed.”