The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has said it spends at least $400 million annually to intervene in development programmes across Nigeria.
USAID Nigeria Mission Director, Mr. Stephen M. Haykin, disclosed this on Thursday at the sidelines of the Leadership, Empowerment, Advocacy and Development (LEAD) close-out and dissemination workshop held in Abuja.
He said USAID has a range of development programmes particularly in the social sector, including education, strengthening health systems, health supervision, water and sanitation services.
He also said USAID also work to strengthen a lot of governance issues and other humanitarian programmes in northeastern Nigeria.
He explained that in qualifying for the interventions, a number of criteria are deployed one of which is assessment of relative need of the communities.
“We also work in support of local governments commitments to projects. So where there is a commitment by the local and state governments’ commitments to education and health, we like to work with these states” he said.
“LEAD has demonstrated that if engaged, ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government charged with service delivery can work together with their civil society constituents for the good of their communities and their states,” Mr. Haykin said.
He added that “it has made a significant contribution towards the U.S. and Nigerian governments’ shared objective of improving sub-national governance.”
“In Sokoto and Bauchi states, later expanding to Kano and Rivers, LEAD has helped local governments decentralize decision-making processes and promote citizen participation in government decision-making in order to ensure improved service delivery in critical social sectors such as health, education, and water and sanitation,” he said.
According to him, “LEAD provided technical support, mentoring, and coaching to enhance the technical capacity of more than 6,000 government officials at the state and local government area (LGA) levels in the four targeted states. This empowered LGA officials to better utilize strong institutional systems and processes for governance and service delivery, strategic policy development, project planning and implementation, personnel development, and financial management.”
“LEAD also supported hundreds of CSOs to co-formulate with LGAs community-based strategic plans and priority setting, town hall meetings, service improvement plans, revenue improvement plans, gender policies and enhance state-level monitoring and evaluation policies” he noted.
In Sokoto he said the “community involvement in state level budget planning led to an increase in the education allocations from 17 percent of the state’s budget in 2015 to 27 percent in 2016, and it remains at that level. These increased budget allocations led to the employment of 2,000 teachers and the construction of and rehabilitation of classrooms. Other efforts resulted in strengthening primary health care centers and improved access to potable drinking water for over 600,000 people in LEAD supported states.”