The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) has promised to assist the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) with a $2 million grant.
The president, Global and Advocacy at the Gates Foundation, Mark Suzman, who disclosed this on Thursday at a joint press briefing with NGF, said the grant was to boost states’ internally generated revenue (IGR).
Suzman stressed that the grants would primarily focus on domestic revenue challenges with the aim of strengthening public financing for social programmes which will benefit the poor.
He also added that the fund was to also help in boosting primary healthcare in Nigeria, and would be spread over a period of three years, between 2017 and 2019. He said:
“The Gates Foundation recognises how critical state leadership is to development in Nigeria.
“We are pleased to be supporting the critical work of the NGF as it facilitates better information exchange, collaboration on policy, and the work of executive governors in determining how best to ensure federal and state policies work for Nigeria’s poorest.”
The Gates Foundation official noted that two-thirds of social spending in Nigeria occurs at the sub-national level.
“Nigeria is once again locked in a serious fight against polio, and it will not be successful without the support of the country’s executive governors.
“Some of the governors are doing a stellar job of regularly reviewing progress on polio and routine immunisation, which are themselves the backbone of a primary healthcare system which brings benefit to all Nigerians.
“But more still needs to be done to keep polio and immunisation at the top of the country’s health agenda.”
Abdulaziz Yari, governor of Zamfara state, who is chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, commended the foundation for the grant.
He expressed optimism that it would help to boost states’ capacity in IGR and healthcare delivery.
Represented by Aminu Tambuwal, governor of Sokoto state, Yari promised that the fund would be prudently used for the purpose it was meant for.