Dr. Zakari Adam, Chief of Field Office, UNICEF, Kaduna, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday.
Adam noted that the timely release of allocated funds would enable the government and development partners to efficiently implement child-centered programs and interventions.
According to him, this will enable UNICEF to mobilize additional funding support from its external partners and other sources.
With UNICEF and other partners, technical and financial support, Kaduna state is making progress in health, HIV and AIDS, water sanitation and hygiene, nutrition and education among other areas.
“But there are still challenges that need to be tackled, especially fund disbursement, to ensure we improve our interventions to meet the needs of children and women in the state.
“Usually, when our partner releases funds, we equally make additional funds available to boost available resources for interventions, particularly in areas of concern.
“But we are experiencing delays in fund releases by the state government. Even when the funds are released, they are often not cashback on time, to enable us to mobilize additional funding support,” he said.
Adam described Kaduna State as “one of the most committed governments” he has ever worked with.
He, therefore, assured the state government of UNICEF’s resolve to support its commitment to moving the social agenda to greater heights, that would put a smile on the faces of women and children.
According to him, UNICEF’s interventions are not limited to providing funds and other interventions but extend to the provision of technical support, as well as the improvement of the capacity of implementing partners in ministries, departments, and agencies.
The field office chief advised the state government to tap from UNICEF’s available expertise in different areas affecting the growth, protection, and development of children.
He particularly asked the government to come up with a child protection intervention for implementation, adding that UNICEF had deployed child protection specialists to the state to assist in that regard.
When contacted, Malam Salisu Lawal, the Director, Development Aid Coordination, Planning, and Budget Commission, assured UNICEF that steps were being taken to ensure the timely release of funds for intervention in the state.
He further assured UNICEF and other development partners of the state’s resolve to achieve better results in the implementation of programs designed to ensure uninterrupted growth and development of children.