By Egena Sunday Ode
President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday in Abuja inaugurated the National Steering Committee (NSC) of the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy (NPRGS) to be chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
The President reiterated his commitment to lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in ten years, with a well-researched framework for implementation and funding.
Speaking at the ceremony attended by the Vice President, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, governors and top government officials, President Buhari noted that the NPRGS had already proposed the establishment of a private equity fund, the Nigeria Investment and Growth Fund (NIG-Fund), to lead resource mobilization drive and also manage the resources in a sustainable manner.
“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 ten (10) years.
“I am happy to note that the process of designing this inclusive poverty reduction strategy recognized 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,’’ he said.
The President added that the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy 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.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adssina, quoted Buhari to have noted that:
“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 271million people out of poverty between 2006 and 2016, Nigeria can surely lift 100million 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.’’
Buhari listed the responsibilities of the steering committee to include: anchor collaborative efforts; provide oversight for the implementation of the strategy; provide guidance to 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 attainment of the objective of lifting 100 million people out of poverty in 10 years.
According to the President: “The performance of our economy despite COVID-19 gives me comfort that we can achieve our goal but we need to seriously scale up and work more with state and local governments.
“This call becomes more pertinent in the face of recent forecasts by the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and our own Nigerian Economic Summit Group which all agreed that Nigeria needs to frontally tackle her poverty situation if our economic gains are to be sustained.’’
President Buhari said the National Steering Committee of Nigeria’s National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy also include Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief of Staff to Mr. 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 are: 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.