The United Nations (UN) has set up a group from the organised private sector, Sustainable Development Solutions Network Nigeria (SDSN-NIGERIA), to monitor the processes of implementing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to avert repeating what was identified to have caused Nigeria’s failure to fully realise the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agenda.
It will be recalled that Nigeria was one of the countries that could not realise the United Nations’ MDGs, warranting the global body to come up with 17 development points agenda now christened the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to ameliorate the shortfalls of the MDGs.
During their meeting in Abuja, the group blamed the government for the inability to reach the MDGs targets, arguing that the government did not create the enabling environment that would have allowed the organised private sector to play a role in executing the MDGs agenda.
They alleged that the MDGs were not realised because the government ‘ hijacked’ the processes through its counter-productive bureaucracy with little role left for the private sector.
Speaking with journalists at the end of the meeting, the Co-Director of Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN-Nigeria) Professor Labode Popoola, said the interest of the private sector in the SDGs is basically an intervention meant to ensure that the SDG targets are realised.
“If you look at the whole trajectory of development in all over the world, there is this belief that the engine of growth is actually the private sector. If the country has to develop, the private sector has to contribute to the development, and it has not been so in Nigeria,” Popoola said.
“We want a situation where the entire private sector as a group will contribute to economic development of the country and not just a few private sector organisations contributing to the development of some locality as the case is now; and that is why this network, a United Nation’s outfit was set up consisting of the organised private sector,” he added.
Popoola who is also the Vice Chancellor of Osun State University, noted that though the interest of the organized private sector in the processes of implementing the SDGs may have some element for pecuniary benefits, since they are not charity organisations, but will be guided by the principles of social corporate responsibility in whatever they shall be doing.