Buhari inaugurates committee to lift 100 million Nigerians from poverty

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Tuesday, inaugurated the National Steering Committee of the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

This, he said, re-echoes his commitment to lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years, with a well-researched framework for implementation and funding.

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday titled, ‘President Buhari inaugurates steering committee on poverty reduction, establishes private equity fund.’

Speaking at the ceremony, the President disclosed that the NPRGS had already proposed the establishment of a private equity fund, the Nigeria Investment and Growth Fund, to lead resource mobilisation drive and also manage the resources in a sustainable manner.

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

“I am happy to note that the process of designing this inclusive poverty reduction strategy recognised and addressed past mistakes as well as laying the foundation for a sustainable poverty reduction through the wide range consultations held at all levels of government, development partners, the private sector as well as the civil society.’’

Buhari added that the NPRGS would address the underlying causes of poverty on the basis of which it developed programmes that would deal with the multi-dimensional nature of poverty within the practical context of comparative advantage of human and natural resources in the various geo-political zones.

“The major challenge before this National Steering Committee is to translate our good intention into positive impact of the average Nigerian so that we create an appreciative impact on the poverty situation in our country.

“If India can lift 271 million people out of poverty between 2006 and 2016, Nigeria can surely lift 100 million out of poverty in 10 years. Fortunately, we have already started but we need to unlock the challenges of slow implementation, inappropriate targeting and absence of adequate resources.’’

According to the President, the steering committee, among other things, will anchor collaborative efforts; provide oversight for the implementation of the strategy; guide the Technical Working Group and Federal Ministries, Extra Ministerial Departments and Agencies, subnational governments and other stakeholders on meeting the objectives of the programme as well as monitoring progress and any other effort that would enhance the attainment of the objective of lifting 100million people out of poverty in 10 years.

The Committee will include Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief of Staff to the President, Governor of Ekiti State (South West), Governor of Delta State (South-South), Governor of Sokoto State (North West), Governor of Borno State (North East), Governor of Nasarawa State (North Central) and Governor of Ebonyi State (South East).

Other members of the committee include Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investments, Minister of Labour and Employment, Minister of Education and Minister of Health.

Buhari charged the committee to start work immediately so that the Technical Working Group would also begin putting the nuts and bolts together.

“You may, therefore, wish to consider providing immediate guidance to the TWG on the following, the establishment of the NIG-Fund leveraging on the Development Finance Assessment Report, public and private sector funding; harmonise existing human capital development; scale up existing Poverty Reduction Initiatives such as the Social Investment Programmes, various agricultural support initiatives as well as support to Micro-Small and Medium Enterprises; and leverage on existing development partner support programmes and projects with potentials for quick-wins e.g the Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus.’’

He expressed confidence that the committee will lay the foundation and demonstrate, within the next two years, the practicality of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in or under 10years.

He said, “As you all know, funding will always be a challenge especially in these times when resources are limited. The NPRGS has, thus, proposed the establishment of a private equity fund, the Nigeria Investment and Growth Fund, to lead our resource mobilisation drive and also sustainably manage the resources.’’

In his remarks, the Chairman of the committee, Vice President Osinbajo said the NPRGS would consolidate other efforts of the government to reduce poverty which include N-Power, school feeding and conditional cash transfer.

The Vice President noted that the framework and implementation will reflect Buhari’s position that local governments, states and the federal government should synergise to alleviate poverty in the country.

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