OPINION: Proper Financing For Primary Health Care Key To Poverty Alleviation

In this file photo taken on August 19, 2019 a person holds a seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) tablet received in Koubri's health center, south east of Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou. Olympia DE MAISMONT / AFP
In this file photo taken on August 19, 2019 a person holds a seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) tablet received in Koubri’s health center, south east of Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou. Olympia DE MAISMONT / AFP

 

By Stanley Achonu

This week, health commissioners from the 36 states will convene in Abuja to discuss “Financing Primary Health Care in Nigeria” at the PHC Financing Forum under the auspices of the Nigerian State Health Leadership Collaborative. The work of the State Commissioners and their partners is cut out for them –  commit to improving budgetary allocation to health at the sub-national level and ensure value for money in utilizing available resources.

Improving primary health funding is critical because Nigeria’s current primary health care system does not adequately meet the needs of its population. Nigeria has one of the highest rates of out-of-pocket spending (75%) and one of the lowest rates of health insurance coverage (4%). The numbers are troubling given that approximately 40% of Nigerians live in poverty and in social conditions that contribute to poor health.

In most developing nations, primary health care fills these gaps. It is generally associated with positive health outcomes because it addresses most of a person’s health needs and targets the most vulnerable. Moreover, it is not just disease-specific but also people-centered regarding physical, mental, and social well-being, making it an influential factor in lifting people out of poverty.

Conversations about improving health care funding in Nigeria and Africa are not new. When heads of state of African Union countries met in Abuja in 2001, they set a target of allocating at least 15 percent of their annual budget to improve the health sector. Sadly, two decades after the Abuja Declaration, Nigeria is barely scratching the surface, grossly leaving healthcare underfunded with terrible health indicators described as some of the worst in Africa.

Perhaps the strained health sector and the lack of improvement over the years explain why many Nigerians and the rest of the world were concerned about Africa when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020. The lack of solid health systems capable of delivering the level of preparedness required to combat emergencies like COVID was evident when several state governments in Nigeria started building Emergency Operations Centers (EOC) during the heat of the pandemic.

This precarious situation had many stakeholders believing that COVID-19 could be the final impetus needed by federal and state governments to prioritize health care, improve healthcare financing, and promote better health outcomes. But unfortunately, Nigeria appears to have learned little from the pandemic, with no significant improvement in prioritizing and adequately funding the health sector over the past two years.

A report on state budgetary allocation for health by ONE Campaign shows several state governments in Nigeria drastically reduced their health budgets between 2020 and 2022. For example, Ebonyi and Plateau states slashed their budget for health by more than 60% over the last two years. Worse still, Nigeria’s (federal and state) health allocation as a percentage of the total budget decreased from 11.2 percent in 2020 to 8.6 percent in 2022, taking the country further away from the continental Abuja Declaration benchmark of 15 percent. The persistent under-allocation of resources to the health sector has resulted in a funding gap of N1.36 trillion between 2020 and 2022 alone, which is likely to grow if State Governments do not prioritize healthcare.

In the face of a massive decline in health funding, some states have remained committed to improving their health care budgets. For instance, Kaduna and Sokoto state consistently met the Abuja declaration target of 15% since the pandemic hit. In Yobe, Bayelsa, and Imo states, the budget for the health sector has more than doubled since 2020. Kano State Government also announced plans to increase its 2023 allocation to the health sector.  These actions are commendable. One can only hope for the same drive and political will from all other states beginning from the 2023 fiscal year and that budget allocation is matched with actual fund release.

The need to improve primary health care funding and ensure judicious use of resources to drive the necessary change is now paramount. By committing to improved health care financing, we are promoting our citizen’s health and the nation’s economic well-being. Therefore, the Abuja forum must go beyond a talk shop and deliver concrete steps to secure new funding sources and demonstrate better resource management.

The Health commissioners must recommit themselves to the following: increase their allocation to the health sector to at least 15 percent of the total budget to meet the Abuja Declaration; ensure timely release of counterpart funding for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) and other donor-supported programs; ensure a proper mix of financing for health infrastructure and health programs; ensure appropriate, efficient, and transparent use of health funding to deliver value; and invest in training and retraining of all staff cadre in the primary health centres.

The Nigerian constitution gives state and local governments the responsibility to deliver primary health care to Nigerians. I urge the commissioners to take this responsibility seriously for the sake of millions of vulnerable Nigerians in extreme poverty. The best time to begin adequate health care funding and strengthening was 20 years ago after the Abuja Declaration; the next best time is now.

 

Stanley Achonu is the Nigeria Country Director of The ONE Campaign and writes from Abuja.

Poverty Reduction: FG Disburses N20,000 Grant To 2,900 Persons In Abuja

Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq spoke to reporters on July 30, 2022 in Abuja.
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq spoke to reporters on July 30, 2022 in Abuja.

 

The Federal Government has disbursed a one-off grant of N20,000 to 2,900 poor and vulnerable persons in the Federal Capital Territory.

Addressing journalists after the flag-off ceremony in Abuja, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, said the Vulnerable Group Programme is an expansion of the National Social Investment Scheme.

The scheme’s goal is to help lift one million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030.

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The 2,900 beneficiaries were selected from across the six area councils in Abuja.

“It is going to be replicated in all the other states of the federation,” Farouq said.

“We are flagging off with FCT today and we will continue with the other states by next week.

“This is a program under the National Social Investment Program, an initiative of President Muhammadu Buhari to support the poor and vulnerable of our citizens.

“This is N20,000 to be given to vulnerable groups, a one-off grant. And it is for them to either start some small, petty trading or they will add to their capital.”

We Will Use ‘Common Sense Approach’ To Lift 100 Million Nigerians Out Of Poverty – Osinbajo

FILE: Vice President Yemi Osinbajo speaks during the coronation of the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero at the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano State on July 3, 2021. Photo: State House.

 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Friday said the Federal Government’s goal of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty will be achieved with a simple, common sense strategy.

According to a statement signed by his spokesperson Laolu Akande, the Vice President made the remark while chairing the inaugural meeting of the National Steering Committee on Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy.

President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 had pledged to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.

On June 12, the President said his administration had lifted 10.5 million Nigerians out of poverty in two years, despite worsening unemployment statistics and increasingly high food prices.

 

Read Mr Akande’s full statement below:

STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE

LIFTING 100M NIGERIANS OUT OF POVERTY:

WHAT WE NEED IS A SIMPLE, COMMON SENSE APPROACH, SAYS OSINBAJO

*VP chairs inaugural meeting of National Steering Committee on Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy

*Governors, Ministers in attendance

How the Buhari administration plans to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in ten years will not be based on a business as usual approach, but a very simple, common sense strategy that will deliver the results as the President promised, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Expressing the strong hope that this way, the Committee will be able to achieve rapid progress, Prof. Osinbajo said “in order not to make this merely, another of those high-sounding committees that eventually achieve nothing, we have to be very intentional about our objectives and how to achieve them.”

Prof. Osinbajo stated this in Abuja on Friday at the inaugural meeting of the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy Steering Committee held at the Presidential Villa.

Addressing members of the committee, Prof. Osinbajo said government would adopt a different and more effective approach in actualizing the objective of eradicating poverty in the country for the sake of delivering results.

According to him, “I really want us to approach this as much as possible, commonsensically, so that we are able to resolve all the issues and focus on the real progress.

“I want us to look beyond all of what we are going to be doing, there is going to be a considerable amount of paper work, but a lot of common sense is what grows economies. It’s what other countries have done, not really reinventing the wheel. So, I want us to focus on those commonsensical things, so that we can actually move forward.”

Citing the example of Bangladesh where a poverty reduction strategy was also implemented, the VP noted how the country’s manufacturing sector was key.

“Bangladesh actually exports more garment than we export oil,” the VP said.

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

“We must look at what others have done, the smart things that other people have done, and adopt.”

He also spoke about agriculture. “We really have to think smartly about how we are funding agriculture,” he said.

“I think we really need to take a deep dive because governments have made several efforts at poverty alleviation but generally speaking, they have not yielded the sort of results they should yield, and I think it’s because there is a lot of focus on documentation and paper work and very little commonsense approaches,” the VP added.

Prof. Osinbajo explained that National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy is meant to be a national strategy, not just a federal effort and it is aimed at taking 100 million people, nationally, out of poverty within a target time-frame of 10 years.

His words: “I just want to emphasize that it is a national strategy as opposed to a federal strategy which is why the steering committee is made up of federal as well as state officials.”

While also emphasizing the role of the private sector, the VP said “essentially, this effort must also be directed at how to facilitate private sector creation of jobs. The fact is that there is no way that the Federal Government or the State Governments can create the number of jobs that we need.

“We need to take a few broad looks at the features of what constitutes our present predicaments in terms of job losses and unemployment.”

Continuing, Prof. Osinbajo said efforts will be made to focus attention on creating opportunities for Nigerians to earn decent livelihoods in addition to equipping them with the necessary vocational skills.

At the meeting today, members in attendance included Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, who is also Nigeria Governors Forum Chairman, Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State and Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha; Ministers of Agriculture, Muhammad Nanono; Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, and Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige also attended, while the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba joined the meeting virtually.

Later at the end of the inaugural meeting, and while fielding questions from journalists, Governor Sule of Nasarawa State said “the whole essence of the committee is for the government to be able to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.”

He said that having reviewed the Terms of Reference (TOR), the Steering Committee is now constituting the technical working group and the National Social Protection Network and then resume its meeting after the Sallah break.

Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity
Office of the Vice President
9th July 2021

FG Releases Details Of Special Programme To Employ 774,000 Nigerians

The first press briefing and the unveiling of the criteria and modus-operandi for selecting beneficiaries and executing the Special Public Works Programme with Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Keyamo and others.

 

Despite the suspension of the Federal Government Special Public Works Programme by the National Assembly, the Federal Government says the programme has kicked off across the country.

The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Keyamo on Tuesday, inaugurated special committees in all the states of the Federation and the FCT for the selection of applicants for the programme.

The SPW is a post-COVID-19 poverty alleviation programme, approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, under which 1,000 persons are to be employed from each of the 774 Local Government Areas in the country.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated the plan of his administration to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within the next 10 years.

 

The initiative is expected to commence on October 1 and according to the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, each beneficiary will be paid N20,000 monthly to carry out public works.

 

 

In a virtual inauguration conference jointly addressed by the Director-General, National Directorate of Employment, Dr Nasir Ladan Argungu in Abuja, the Minister said: “These Committees would be saddled with the responsibility of identifying the public works to be executed in each of the LGAs in all the States. This would be in addition to projects already identified by several Federal Ministries, Agencies and Parastatals in different localities across the country.

 

“Having accepted the recommendations, we also ensured that the composition of the Committees is multi-sectoral and local enough to balance all the competing interests in different States. Your selection, therefore, was a result of a painstaking process we carried out to ensure that we make the exercise as credible as possible,” the Minister said.

“The 1,000 persons you will recruit per LGA would be engaged by the Federal Government between October and December this year to carry out public works that are peculiar to each Local Government Area.

“They would be paid a total of N60,000 each (that is N20,000 per month). They would be engaged in roads rehabilitation and social housing construction, urban and rural sanitation, health extension and other critical services,” he explained.

He further stated that the programme could be extended or repeated every year.

“After the selection of those to be engaged, they still have to be captured by some selected banks we are in talks with, their account opened, and their BVNs obtained. This is because Mr President has directed that everyone must be paid through their BVNs to eliminate fraud in the programme.

“As a result, I direct that all the States’ Selection Committees have just three weeks to complete the selection process and return the names of those selected to us for further processing with the banks.

“My belief is that if the committees adhere strictly to the guidelines given to them, they are bound to achieve the targets set by Mr President to reach out to 774,000 Nigerians who are largely indigent and itinerant worker,” he added.

Rashford 1 UK Govt 0: Man Utd Star Forces Change On Child Poverty

In this file photo taken on December 01, 2019 Manchester United's English striker Marcus Rashford applauds supporters on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Aston Villa at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on December 1, 2019.  Oli SCARFF / AFP
In this file photo taken on December 01, 2019 Manchester United’s English striker Marcus Rashford applauds supporters on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Aston Villa at Old Trafford in Manchester, north-west England, on December 1, 2019. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Britain’s government on Tuesday bowed to demands by Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford to change its policy on free school meals for the poorest children, amid growing concerns about the impact of the coronavirus lockdown on low-income families.

The England international drew on his own experience of growing up in poverty to lead an impassioned campaign for the programme to be extended through the summer holidays.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government had initially resisted making the change, which would see 1.3 million children in England receive vouchers for an extra six weeks.

But as the story dominated the headlines and opposition MPs and members of his own Conservative party backed Rashford, Johnson gave in.

“Owing to the coronavirus pandemic, the prime minister fully understands that children and parents face an entirely unprecedented situation over the summer,” his spokesman said.

“To reflect this we will be providing a Covid summer food fund. This will provide food vouchers covering the six-week holiday period.”

Rashford, 22, won widespread praise from politicians, charities and education leaders for his campaign. He said he was proud to have helped give a voice to “vulnerable parents”.

“There is still a long way to go but I am thankful to you all that we have given these families just one less thing to worry about tonight,” he added.

The striker had written to Johnson and MPs and on Tuesday wrote in The Times newspaper that he understood personally how much free school meals mattered to children receiving them.

“Ten years ago, I was one of them. I know what it feels like to be hungry,” he wrote.

Ahead of a parliamentary debate called by the main opposition Labour party, he urged MPs to put aside their political differences and back his campaign.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also announced Tuesday that she would extend the meals scheme to the summer holidays in Scotland, following a move already made by the devolved government in Wales.

Educational poverty

Johnson had highlighted how much his government has already done to help people hit by nationwide stay-at-home orders imposed in March to stem the spread of COVID-19.

When schools were shut, pupils eligible for free meals were offered vouchers instead, and the government has boosted welfare payments and provided targeted funds for the most vulnerable.

It has also paid the salaries of 9.1 million people in its furlough scheme as of June 14, although new figures show a surge in claims for out-of-work benefits to 2.8 million people in the three months to May.

With a deep recession looming however, fears are growing for how many people will cope when the furlough scheme ends in October.

Several Conservative MPs had called on Johnson to “do the right thing” and extend the school meal programme.

Commentators also questioned why the prime minister was picking such a fight when he was already on the back foot over his response to the coronavirus outbreak, which has claimed more than 41,000 lives.

“@MarcusRashford is right. Public know it. Politicians know it,” tweeted Conservative MP Robert Halfon, the chairman of the Commons education committee.

“He’s lived food hunger and helps food charities,” he said, referring to Rashford’s help in raising £20 million ($25 million) for FareShare, a charity that fights hunger and food waste.

Halfon had previously warned about “an epidemic of educational poverty” after the government conceded most children would not return to school until September.

Earlier, Labour’s education spokeswoman, Rebecca Long-Bailey, said Rashford was “one of the best of us”, accusing the government of being “callous”.

Downing Street has said the cost of the scheme will come to £120 million in additional spending.

A new study from UCL’s Institute for Education found just 19 percent of children were spending more than four hours a day on school work, falling to 11 percent for those on free school meals.

FG Promises To Take 100m Nigerians Out Of Poverty By 2029

File Photo: Yemi Osinbajo

 

The Federal Government has reiterated its promise to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.

Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo, gave the assurance on Thursday when he paid a visit to the emir of Gwandu in Kebbi State.

According to a statement from the office of the VP, some of the schemes put in place towards the objective, include empowerment programmes such as the tradermoni and marketmoni schemes.

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“The president’s desire for this programme is that every hardworking citizen should be able to have some support from the government, no matter how little their inventory,” Osinbajo said.

He also expressed confidence that the objective will be achieved.

He, however, noted that it can only be done with the support of the state governments.

Investing In Empowerment Programmes Will Reduce Poverty Rate In Nigeria – Ooni

 

The Ooni of Ile Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, has called for change in approach to tackling financial crises facing the country, suggesting a well-planned empowerment programme for only women to reduce the poverty rate.

According to him, engaging women in productive ventures, will aid wealth creation and eventually reduce the rate of poverty in the country.

The monarch who spoke during the 2018 edition of the Ooni Women Empowerment Forum which took place at Okunade Sijuade Hall, in Ile Ife, Osun state, urged Nigerians to ask questions that can check excesses of people in positions of authorities.

Decrying the increasing population in the country without plans to productively engage them, the monarch advised women trained under the programme to make maximum use of the skills acquired to improve their earnings and be financially independent.

He said over 500 women drawn across the country benefitted from the programme and therefore, called on people in leadership positions to assist local product makers in growing their businesses by buying from them.

In his remarks, the Director General of National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Dr Nasir Mohammed, commended the monarch for lending a helping hands to the beneficiaries, urging privileged Nigerians to assist the less privileged acquire skills that can make them productive and earn decent living.

He assured the beneficiaries that the NDE will assist them to market their products, starting with those in Internally Displaced People camps.
Mohammed also said the directorate will later assist them to package and sell the products to some West African countries.

“Privileged Nigerians should help the downtrodden. They all need to learn from Ooni. He is passionate about helping his people. We will assist to market these products the beneficiaries of the empowerment programmes have produced.

“We will try to liase with the relevant government agencies and sell the products to the IDP camps. After we have helped them package the products, we will then sell to other West African countries”.

The NDE boss also noted that women have proven to be better in loan repayment, saying that on that basis, the organisation plans to go to rural areas and organise women into cooperative societies, through which they can assess loans to finance their businesses.

New Development Approach Will Eradicate Poverty – Tony Elumele

Economist and entrepreneur, Tony Elumelu says the time has come to implement a new development model that would help eradicate poverty in Africa.

He also noted that it is fundamental to help the youth see themselves as the change Africa is looking for and encourage them to lead the campaign against poverty in the continent.

This and other issues of development formed the crux of the two-day forum organised by the Tony Elumelu Foundation in Lagos south-west Nigeria.

“Our youths need jobs, plenty jobs, economic hope. There is so much uncertainty about the future.

“In Africa, we have tried different models to deal with these issues of poverty eradication, job creation and creating economic hope for our people – in fact, we know that we have not made much progress and in some areas we can even say that we have regressed,” Mr Elumelu stressed.

Also according to him, aid inflow into Africa in the past 10 years is a whopping half a trillion dollars, yet the basic human development index has not significantly changed.

He, therefore, stated that the new development model which he referred to as ‘Africapitalism’ is of utmost necessity.

“A development model that embraces shared prosperity and local value addition, long-term investment and also private sector development and ultimately entrepreneurship, is needed.

“Africapitalism is a development model that prioritizes our youth and creates hope for them. It is a bottom-up approach to development; an all-inclusive approach that brings development to everyone; one that creates economic empowerment and one that creates hope for the future.”

Also Speaking at the event, was Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Osinbajo who help similar views.

According to him, the present generation of young Africans represents hope for the continent.

“I’ve always known that this group of individuals, this generation of young people will do the exceptional. Earlier this month I spoke at the Financial Times Africa Summit on the theme what makes Africa work – here in this room are seated the answer to that question.

“Across Agriculture, ICT, hospitality, fashion, energy, manufacturing and many other fields, the breadth and depth of talent and innovation on display in the current and previous Tony Elumelu entrepreneurship cohorts have shown that there is indeed hope,” the Vice President said.

Fayose Distributes 6,000 Medicated Eyeglasses To Citizens

Fayose Distributes 6,000 Medicated Eyeglasses To CitizensThe Ekiti state government on Tuesday, commenced the distribution of 6,000 free eye glasses to residents, as part of efforts aimed at reducing the prevalence of eye problems among citizens of the state.

Governor Ayodele Fayose, while flagging off the distribution of the medicated glasses in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital said:

”My administration remains committed to providing qualitative healthcare delivery and alleviating the suffering of the people in the state irrespective of the economic challenges in the country”.

The initiative, tagged ‘Oju Ayo’, according to the state government is a form of poverty alleviation program directed at the poor across communities in the state who, out of poor vision and near blindness, have lost all means of survival resulting into poverty.

Some beneficiaries on the other hand, expressed appreciation to the state government, saying: ”We thank the state government for the gesture, particularly those of us who cannot afford the medical bills”.

Good Governance Identified As Panacea To Poverty Reduction

Good Governance, Poverty ReductionA committed world of good governance at the federal, state and local government levels, have been identified as a panacea towards poverty reduction in Nigeria.

This is the submission of the Director- General, West African Institute of Financial and Economic Management, Professor Akpan Ekpo, at the distinguished annual lecture for participants at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru.

He noted that the absence of committed leadership in the country is a great concern, while political will is both a necessary and sufficient condition for institutional mechanisms for poverty reduction.

The renowned economist stated that, “a committed world of good governance can reduce global poverty to the barest minimum.

“The solution does not lie within the frameworks but within concrete action that portrays the exercise of good governance at the federal state and local government levels.

“In the absence of good governance, no nation can effectively design and implement sustainable poverty reduction programmes.”

He however suggested that the way forward is for government to formulate and implement an economic blue-print that stresses sustained growth and inclusive development with specific strategies and programmes targeted at the poor.

“This must be accompanied with a robust monitoring and evaluation framework,” he said.

Reflecting on the complexity of the issue of poverty and its alleviation, Professor Ekpo posited that all hands must be on deck with non-governmental organisations, complementing government efforts.

“Globalization of society is not helping matters in this regard. It is also necessary for civil society and the private business communities to join efforts with those of government, more than ever before, to contribute to poverty alleviation in ways that reflect their interests and capabilities because utilizing non-governmental channels would help broaden the scope of government contributions to poverty reduction.

“In this regard, the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) should focus not only on individual projects, but also engage in more general analysis and proposals to government for promoting workable approaches to poverty reduction,” Ekpo added.

Akwa Ibom Governor Reiterates Commitment To Sustaining Agenda

children's day, Gov. Udom, child abuseThe Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, has restated his commitment to his administration’s five point agenda of wealth creation, economic and social inclusion, poverty alleviation, infrastructural consolidation and expansion and job creation.

The Governor gave the assurance in a state wide broadcast on Sunday to mark the 2016 Democracy Day and his one year in office.

Reviewing his administration’s performance in the last one year, Governor Emmanuel said the major focus in the period was to provide motivation, direction and inspiration for a new Akwa Ibom packaged as an oasis of industrialisation and good governance.

He noted that in spite of lean resources resulting from the global economic downturn, his administration had recorded positive achievements.

The Governor used the occasion to re-echo his call on all Akwa Ibom people irrespective of political bias to join hands with him to build the state.

Later in the day, a thanksgiving service was also organised to mark the day.

High point of the day was the commissioning of a hatchery by the Governor to boost poultry production in the state in line with his promise to develop agriculture.

At the commissioning of the project were the Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Mathew Ekaete, the Chief Executive Officer of Akwa Prime Poultry, a core investors in the project, Marcus Biten and the Project Consultant, Francis Ekeng.

Governor Emmanuel said apart from creating employment, the hatchery would also ensure appropriate pricing of products through its value chain.

The hatchery was an initiative of the immediate past administration in the state.

Kwara To Inject Two Billion Naira To Fight Poverty

Kwara-PovertyKwara State government is to inject about two billion Naira into its micro credit scheme in the next three years with a view to alleviating poverty in the state.

The State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, disclosed this on Thursday when the participants of the ‘Senior Executive Course 38’ of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru in Jos, paid him a courtesy visit.

Maintaining that youths and women would be prioritised in the scheme, the governor also revealed his intention to generate 20,000 agro-related jobs annually, in order to create a successor-generation of commercial farmers.

Describing poverty as a universal issue resulting from a state of short or long term deprivation and insecurity in basic human needs, he restated that poverty reduction was top on the priority list of his government.

According to Governor Ahmed, “Today, many countries are faced with the challenge of poverty. Nigeria is not an exception.

“According to the 2015 Human Development Index, Nigeria ranks 152 out of 188 countries in 2014. Thus, it has become imperative we find ways of ameliorating this scourge.

“Consequently, one of the cardinal objectives of this administration is to improve the lives of our people in tangible ways.

“In our mission towards the reduction of poverty in the state, we have identified agriculture as one of the keys to economic prosperity”, he said.

In an earlier remark, the team leader of the participants, Professor Celestine Bassey, who was represented by Brigadier General Daniel Chinoko, said that they were mandated by President Muhammadu Buhari to carry out a study on a theme: “Strengthening Institutional Mechanism for Poverty Reduction and Inclusiveness Development”.