Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning

The Federal Government has said the implementation of the National safe Schools Plan will require an investment of N144.8 billion within the next four years covering 2023-2026.

The Minister of finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed said this Tuesday in Abuja at the Launch of the National Plan on Financing Safe Schools in Nigeria.

The policy which is part of investment in human capital to spur economic growth is aimed at ensuring safe teaching and learning environment especially in the era of kidnapping of students by bandits and terrorists, as a chip to bargaining with the government.

Ahmed further called on State Governments and other relevant stakeholders to brace the challenge and ensure the fully implementation of the plan for the next four years.

She said, “the National Plan will be implemented between 2023-2026, with a total investment size of N144.8 billion. The Plan proposes N32.58 billion in 2023, N36.98 billion in 2024, N37.15 billion in 2025, and N38.03 billion in 2026, respectively. To this end, the Federal Government has made a provision of N15 billion in the 2023 Budget, leaving a funding gap of N13.6 billion in 2023, expected to be filled by State Governments, Agencies, the private sector, and development partners interested in supporting Nigeria.

“At this juncture, I wish to charge all critical stakeholders, especially implementing Agencies to ensure that as part of their valuable contributions to the economic growth of our country, they prioritize funding these identified costed plans of action aimed at ensuring we safeguard our teaching and learning environments. In the same vein, we appeal to our development partners, and seize this opportunity to applaud the World Bank Group for launching the Human Capital Project (HCP) that shares similar core objectives and expected outcomes as our National Plan”, Ahmed said.

While stating that the government will look for innovative means of funding the plan towards full implementation, the Minister expressed hope that the plan will further help in reducing the growing number of out-of-school children in the country.

“We intend to explore all innovative sources of funding to cover the funding gap that could hinder the implementation of this critical intervention. We are confident that Nigeria’s innovative financing model would serve as a benchmark for other countries facing the same challenges of violence in the education sector.

“Distinguish ladies and gentlemen, this data-driven National Plan on Financing Safe Schools amongst others intends to achieve measurable outcomes such as a reduction in the number of out-of-school children and improve Nigeria’s rating in Human Capital Index in the long run”, she said.

Security agencies charged with the responsibility of safeguarding the schools such as the Nigeria Police Force, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corp (NSCDC), Nigeria Military and the Department of State Services (DSS) restated their avowed determination to secure schools from external influences.

The Safe Schools Initiative was launched by the President Goodluck Jonathan in the wake of Boko Haram insurgency which culminated into the abduction of school students in the Nort-Eastern region of the country.