The United States of America plans to assist Nigeria with $5.7m to manage elections, The PUNCH has learnt.
This was according to the Congressional Budget Justification for Foreign Operations document for Fiscal Year 2024 obtained by our correspondent.
The PUNCH observed that the $5.7m is a fragment of the $67.1m allocated for foreign operations in Nigeria.
Justifying the total allocation to Nigeria, the document read, “Assistance to Nigeria will promote stability, economic growth, and advance Nigeria’s path to sustainable development. As the economic engine of West Africa, Nigeria is a crucial U.S. trade, investment and security partner, and plays a foundational role in regional prosperity.
“As part of the effort to counter communal violence and violent extremism, U.S. assistance will address drivers of conflict by strengthening democratic governance, broadening economic growth, increasing the capacity of Nigeria to adapt to climate change impacts, expanding quality health access, and improving education services.”
A breakdown of the allocation showed that out of the total $67.1m for Nigeria, $18.8m is to strengthen the ability of government institutions and civil society organizations to fulfil their respective mandates.
The amount also covers USAID’s Peace Action for Rapid and Transformative Nigerian Early Response activity, which will build a sustainable and durable “early warning, early response” conflict prevention system.
On the allocation to help Nigeria manage elections, the document read, “Assistance of $5.7m through the Sustaining Electoral Engagement in Democracy and Sustaining Electoral Accountability and Transparency activities will strengthen Nigeria’s capacity to manage elections, enhance CSO capacity to conduct independent election observation, and support the participation of marginalized populations in political processes to promote free and fair elections. It will also bolster CSOs’ ability to advocate and provide oversight on initiatives to combat gender-based violence.”
There is also the Feed the Future food security program with an allocation of $24.6m to fund agricultural development and resilience-focused activities to ensure climate-smart outcomes.
From the total figure, $5m is allocated to support Nigeria’s pledge of net-zero carbon emissions by 2060 through the support of the Nigeria Energy Transition Plan.
There is also $3m funding to support activities to increase the capacity of Nigeria to adapt to climate change impacts while promoting better environmental management practices, locally-led partnerships, and climate-smart agriculture.
Lastly, there is $10m to fund three interrelated activities, which are Strengthening Deaf Education, Empowerment and Employment, Leveraging Education Assistance Resources in Nigeria to Read, and Opportunities to Learn.
The PUNCH further observed that a total of $1.84bn was budgeted for foreign operations in Africa for the fiscal year 2024.
For this fiscal year, Congo ($98m), Kenya ($87.3) and Mozambique ($78.6m) got the highest allocation.
In the US, the Federal Government’s fiscal year is a 12-month period beginning on October 1 and ending on September 30 the following year.
This means that the fiscal year for 2024 is expected to begin by October 1, 2023.
U.S. President Joe Biden recently unveiled a $6.8tn government spending plan for 2024, calling for new policy initiatives and higher taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals.
However, opposition Republicans immediately said it could not win congressional approval.
The release of the budget plan comes as the U.S. faces a looming debate about how to raise the country’s $31.4tn debt ceiling — the limit on the amount of money the government can borrow to pay its bills.
If Biden and Congress cannot agree on a debt-ceiling increase in the coming months, the U.S. could default on its financial obligations for the first time, a financial catastrophe that could affect world markets and boost unemployment in the U.S.
Republicans say government spending is out of control and individual programs should be trimmed or eliminated.
The Deputy Treasury Secretary in the US, Wally Adeyemo, recently said that Congress must raise the debt ceiling to avoid any crisis from failing international confidence in U.S. resilience.
Adeyemo urged Congress to raise the limit as soon as possible to avoid slowing down U.S. momentum on the international stage.