For the second time, President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.
Although the president first made the pledge during the inauguration for his second term in office, on May 29, 2019, Nigeria has since sank to the poverty capital of the world.
Buhari made the current pledge on Tuesday at the United Nations where he outlined the Federal Government’s plans to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within the next 10 years.
He spoke in a video message to a high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly on poverty eradication. The virtual meeting featured the launch of the Alliance for Poverty Eradication (APE).
According to Oxfam, at least, 94 million Nigerians live below the poverty line,
APE is created to serve as a forum to galvanise UN member states, the international community and other stakeholders to support actions geared toward poverty eradication.
Buhari welcomed the launch of the initiative and affirmed Nigeria’s endorsement of all multilateral actions aimed at actualising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
His words: “Nigeria attaches great importance to poverty eradication.
“It is for this reason that in May, 2019, on my inauguration for a second term in office, our government committed itself to starting a new programme of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within a 10-year period.
“It is my conviction that devoting our efforts towards human capital development, efficient management of our resources, greater financial inclusion, and transformation of the agricultural sector to ensure food security are crucial to poverty eradication.
“In this regard, Nigeria continues to strengthen its existing social safety net initiative by increasing access to enrollees who fit the various programmes in the scheme.
“Nigeria will also continue to provide easier and increased access to financial services for micro and small-scale businesses through the government’s Enterprise and Empowerment Programme.”
The president stressed his administration’s commitment to do more, including massive investment in education, especially of the girl-child.
“Nigeria holds the view that education is a critical driver of sustainable development and has immense capacity to eradicate poverty.
“Educating our children, especially the girl child, contributes significantly to the fight against poverty, environmental sustainability and improved health as well as building peace and resilient societies,” he said.
The president said the Federal Government had also integrated the economic, social and environmental dimensions of the SDGs into its economic plans.
Buhari lamented the adverse economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic noting that it was threatening to reverse decades of progress made in poverty eradication.
He said that in Nigeria, as was the case in many other countries, the “domestic supply chains and trading corridors had come under enormous strain.”
He noted that the situation is dire for Sub-Saharan countries with large informal economies and a significant number of daily wage earners.
Buhari said that the potential economic devastation of the pandemic had made it a national development priority.
He said the government recently developed an economic sustainability plan as a response to the challenges posed by COVID-19.
The plan, he averred, would stimulate the economy and extend protection to the very poor and other vulnerable groups through pro-poor spending.
The president applauded the over 30 UN member states anchoring the Alliance for Poverty Eradication.
“In these difficult times, it takes considerable boldness and courage to consider that which is in the interest of the greater good.
“The anchor members have done just that,” he said.