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Published On: Thu, Jun 12th, 2014

FG releases N1.6bn for ‘Safe Schools’ initiative

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Gerd Mueller and Okonjo IwealaBy Clem Khena-Ogbena

The Federal Government, yesterday, released the sum of N1.6 billion ($10m) for its initiative, called ‘Safe Schools’ initiative.

Announcing the release to journalists, soon after meeting with the German Minister of Development, Mr. Gerd Mueller, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said that the release was sequel to an endorsement of the Fund on May 9, by President Goodluck Jonathan.

She added that Mr. President had to endorse, due to public outcries that greeted the abduction of over 200 Chibok Secondary School girls from Chibok community in Borno State

According to her, the approval for the release of the fund was given on Wednesday by Mr. President. With the approval, she further said, the $10m would be transferred into a Special Trust Fund account.

The minister said that the federal government would be meeting with top officials from the World Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB) and the United Kingdom to fine-tune strategies on the governing structure of the fund.

According to her, the structure would have representatives from the civil societies, private sector and international donors, as well as the state and federal governments.

Aside from the World Bank, AfDB and the UK partners, Okonjo-Iweala disclosed that the Norwegian government also pledged its support for the project, stating: “There are number of measures that Gordon Brown and others have put in place to provide incentives for children to go to school.

“Our private sector is donating $10m, which is hinged on the government coming up immediately with a matching fund and as of yesterday the president has approved that sum and we are opening a trust fund to deposit those money by tomorrow (Friday) and so that money would be lodged there.”

She also said that activities of terrorists do not have significant negative impact on the Nigeria economy, as according to her, investors are still showing huge interests in key sectors of the economy.

Earlier, the German Minister of Economic Development, Mueller met Okonjo to discuss various areas of economic cooperation.

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