Nigeria, last week end assumed the Presidency of the Leading Group on Innovative Financing for Development, hence taking over the mantle of leadership from Finland who hosted the just ended 11th Plenary of the 65 member nation body.
With the development, Nigeria has become the focal country for initiatives on innovative financing for development as part of the broad global development financing framework for the attainment of internationally agreed goals on poverty reduction and protection of public good.
National Planning Minister, Dr Shamsuddeen Usman who led the Nigerian delegation to the meeting in Helsinki, Republic of Finland, stated that, as the President, Nigeria will guide the affairs of the Group until December 2013 when the country will host the 12th Plenary in Abuja.
Dr Usman stated that the Nigerian Presidency would focus on a broad range of issues including ensuring a proper prioritisation of development financing issues, deploying innovative financing to address food security and nutrition, strengthening measures against illicit capital flight and tax avoidance, refocusing the Leading Group to strongly influence the post-2015 millennium development activities of the United Nations and other regional or economic blocs as well as promoting globally the instrumentality of innovative financing for development.
In terms of management, accountability and development priorities on innovative financing, Dr Usman noted that Nigeria would establish a monitoring and evaluation framework to track and document the progress and effectiveness of the work of the Group on innovative financing.
The Minister further said that as the President of the Leading Group Nigeria would become the spokesperson of the body as well as assumes the responsibility for leading in the promotion of innovative financing for development, in particular within the United Nations.
The country is also required to design a work programme for the next semester and to ensure a successful organisation of the 12th Plenary Session which it will host at the end of 2013.
According to the Paris-based Permanent Secretariat of the Group, Nigeria was chosen as the next President of the Group because of her influence and outreach amongst the Leading Group members and the rest of the international community
It said further “Nigeria is a pioneer in the implementation of a mechanism of innovative financing with the recent implementation of a national tax on air tickets dedicated to programmes to fight HIV/AIDS. “Nigeria’s worthy contribution to the post-2015 Development Agenda which reaffirms that innovative financing mechanisms are part of the solution to finance development as a complement to official development assistance (ODA)”
The Leading Group on Innovative Financing for Development is a platform of 65 member countries from both developed and developing economies, in conjunction with international organisations and NGOs,
which seek to promote the implementation and definition of innovative financing mechanisms around the world.
It aims to raise funds to fill the widening gap between the financial mobilisation towards the achievement of the MDGs and the actual resources available through the traditional funding sources.
It is also aimed at establishing predictable and stable mechanisms for raising funds for development to complement official development assistance (ODA).
Apart from receiving funds to support the drive to attain MDGs, member nations also benefit from the research of the Group in the areas of innovative taxation and other creative means of raising more funds for development.