The assault on poverty



The assault on poverty

By Chijioke Okoronkwo

President Muhammadu Buhari has repeatedly pledged to tackle the threat of poverty head-on.

The president has consistently expressed his administration’s determination to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.

On June 22, in line with previous statements, Buhari inaugurated the National Steering Committee (NSC) of the National Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy (NPRGS).

NPRGS is a poverty reduction program designed to achieve the goal of lifting 100 million people out of poverty within 10 years.

The NSC, chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, is responsible for driving the goal of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within 10 years, with a research framework for implementation and funding.

Other members of the NPRGS include Secretary of the Federation Government, Chief of Staff to the President, Governor of Ekiti (South West), Governor of Delta (South-South), Governor of Sokoto State (North-West), Governor of Borno (North-East), Governor of Nasarawa State (North-Center) and Governor of Ebonyi State (South-East).

Others include the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

The committee also includes the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investments, the Minister of Labor and Employment, the Minister of Education and the Minister of Health .

President Buhari said that the NPRGS had previously proposed the establishment of a private equity fund, the Nigeria Investment and Growth Fund (NIG-Fund), to lead resource mobilization and also manage resources in a sustainable manner.

“This journey began in January 2021, when I asked the President of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council and the Secretary of the Federation Government to work together to articulate what will lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.

“I am pleased to note that the process of designing this inclusive poverty reduction strategy has recognized and corrected the mistakes of the past, as well as laid the foundation for sustainable poverty reduction through the broad consultations held by all. levels of government, development partners, the private sector as well as civil society, ” he said.

He added that the NPRGS would address the underlying causes of poverty on the basis of which it would develop programs that would address the multidimensional nature of poverty, in the practical context of the comparative advantage of human and natural resources in the different geopolitical contexts. areas.

According to Buhari, the committee must positively change the narrative of poverty in Nigeria.

“If India can lift 271 million people out of poverty between 2006 and 2016, Nigeria can certainly lift 100 million out of poverty in 10 years. Fortunately, we have already started, but we face the challenges of slow implementation, inappropriate targeting and lack of adequate resources. ”

Buhari instructed the steering committee to, inter alia: “Grounding collaborative efforts; oversee the implementation of the strategy.

“Provide advice to the technical working group and to federal ministries, extra-ministerial departments and agencies, sub-national governments and other stakeholders on the achievement of program objectives as well as monitoring progress and any other effort that would allow for ‘improve the achievement of the goal of lifting 100 million people out of poverty in 10 years.’ ‘

Preparing for the task, Osinbajo expressed optimism that the NPRGS would consolidate other government efforts to reduce poverty, including N-Power, school feeding and conditional cash transfers.

The vice president said the president’s position that local, state and federal governments should work together to reduce poverty in the country would be properly reflected in the framework and implementation.

“Mr. Speaker, in your speech on June 12, 2019, you made the now famous statement that the goal of federal and state governments must be to lift 100 million of our people out of poverty over 10 years.

“Subsequently, you ordered that each minister’s mandate contain a deliverable to ensure that every project and program generates jobs to support the $ 100 million goal.

“This is the logical culmination of this administration’s transformative commitment to improving the lives of Nigerians, as expressed previously through existing strategies, such as the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and the ESP. ”

Osinbajo said the overall goal of the strategy was shared and inclusive prosperity.

Sharing similar sentiments, Federation Government Secretary Boss Mustapha said the poverty situation in the country has taken on a huge proportion, with a growing population.

He said the situation was made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mustapha said the administration responded quickly to the poverty fallout from COVID-19, cushioned the impact and ensured a quick exit from the recession.

To begin with, the NSC held its inaugural meeting on July 9.

The Vice President, again, in the first meeting, stressed that the plans to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years would not be based on a status quo approach, but on a very simple and straightforward strategy. common sense that would produce results.

“I really want us to approach this as much as possible, with common sense, so that we can fix any issues and focus on real progress.

“I want us to look beyond whatever we’re going to do, there’s going to be a fair amount of paperwork, but a lot of common sense is what drives the savings.

“This is what other countries have done, without really reinventing the wheel.

“So I want us to focus on these common sense things, so that we can actually move forward.”

He cited the example of Bangladesh where a poverty reduction strategy was also implemented, adding that the country’s manufacturing sector was essential.

Bangladesh exports more clothing than Nigeria exports oil, he said.

“The countries that have managed to get out of poverty have created a lot of jobs through industries and they have developed intentional strategies.

“We have to look at what other people have done the smart things others have done and embrace it.”

“We really need to think smart about how we finance agriculture.

“I think we really need to dive deep because governments have made a number of efforts to reduce poverty, but generally speaking they haven’t delivered the kind of results they should be producing, and I think it is. because there is a lot of emphasis on documentation and paperwork and very little common sense approaches.

Osinbajo explained that the NPRGS was meant to be a national strategy, not just a federal effort, and aimed to lift 100 million people nationwide out of poverty within a 10-year target time frame.

He stressed that this was a national strategy as opposed to a federal strategy, which is why the steering committee was made up of federal and state officials.

“Essentially, this effort must also be aimed at facilitating job creation in the private sector.

“The point is, there is no way for the federal government or the state governments to create the number of jobs we need.

“We need to take a general look at the characteristics of what constitutes our current situation in terms of job losses and unemployment,” he said.

Adding a voice to the task, Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State, said the very essence of the committee was to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty over the next 10 years.

He indicated that after reviewing the Terms of Reference (ToR), the steering committee formed the technical working group and the National Social Protection Network and would resume its meeting after Sallah’s break.

To give constitutional impetus to the offensive against poverty, a bill to create a specialized bank to offer young Nigerians the possibility of obtaining loans through the bank using their certificates as collateral and by extension, encouraging young people to engage in agriculture, increased its first reading in the Senate.

The bill, sponsored by Senator Orji Kalu (APC-Abia-North), who is also the Chief Senate Whip, is titled “National Food Bank of Nigeria” (Establishment) Bill 2021 SB (780).

In all respects, the NPRGS is a successful program, which, through the NSC, will add the necessary dynamism to efforts to reduce poverty in Nigeria.

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