Nigeria's Minister of Finance Zainab Ahmed speaks during a panel discussion at the headquarters of the International Monetary Fund during the Annual Meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Wash
Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning Zainab Ahmed has revealed the federal government's effort at creating financial incentives to facilitate private sector investment in education.
Ahmed said the federal government's intervention became necessary in the face of the increased invasions of educational institutions.
She said the government seeks to prepare a comprehensive national plan, with infusions from states and relevant sectors in a bid to ensure a safe learning environment in the country.
The Minister made this known while speaking at the Girl Child Now Summit with the theme: "Nurturing Our Women -Nigeria's Own Wealth," which was organised by the Emergency Coordination Center (ECC) and Wilton Park, over the weekend.
She noted that the education of children remained important in achieving the economic progress and social development needed in Nigeria.
She further stated that her ministry had been engaging stakeholders on financing safe learning environments for students since President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Safe Schools Declaration in December 2019.
The minister expressed "hope to see improvement" as collective efforts are geared towards ensuring adequate funding for the implementation of the safe schools declaration.
Ahmed maintained that there must be harmony among initiatives across agencies, states, NGOs, and donor partners for growth to be achieved in the education sector.
She also noted the private sector's commitment to undertaking an important role under the private sector advisory group of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), through the adoption of schools and spending as much as N100 million to provide security, a good learning environment, and essential tools for improved education.
Ahmed said despite the financial challenges introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic, "I remain steadfast in my commitment to ensuring that our country emerges from this crisis stronger and more resilient than ever before.
"I have had the privilege of serving my country, Nigeria, in navigating the complex financial challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
"But as we work to secure our financial future, we must also ensure that our girls and women have the opportunities to reach their full potential.
"This is why I believe that female leadership is so critical. By seeing women in positions of power and influence, girls are encouraged and inspired to reach for the stars and achieve their dreams."
She told the attendees, which consisted of development partners, that investing in girls and women was not only a moral obligation but also a smart investment.
According to her, studies have shown that when girls and women are empowered, they drive economic growth and development, contributing to a better future for the populace.
Ahmed restated her commitment to ensuring that resources are in place to support investments in the education, health, and development of women and girls.
She indicated that this required a multifaceted approach requiring both public and private sector resources, as well as the expertise and engagement of all stakeholders.
She said by supporting girls and women, "we can break down the barriers that prevent them from realising their full potential.
"I understand the importance of providing female role models and mentors, and I am proud to be in a position where I can aspire and empower other women to pursue leadership positions and make a positive impact on society," she added.
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