The Senate Committee on Banking and Other Financial Institutions has urged state governments particularly in the northwest zone of the country to ensure financial inclusion for poor citizens.
They raised the concern on Sunday that over 70 per cent of adults in the northwest zone are financially excluded while addressing reporters in Kaduna.
Chairman of the committee, Senator Uba Sani, who attributes the problem to factors such as insecurity and lack of access to financial systems, urged the Northern Governors to come with a sustainable framework as soon as possible.
He described the situation as a threat to the realization of the Federal Government’s poverty reduction plan.
While stating that his committee and the Central Bank of Nigeria are keen on the issue of financial inclusion and desirous to see millions of poor Nigerians empowered through the extension of credit to them, Senator Sani says state governments must hasten the establishment of microfinance and community banks to help deepen access to financial services in the rural communities, where the majority of the country’s excluded population live.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has yet again reiterated his administration’s commitment to lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty, saying it is achievable if there is synergy between the government and the people.
Speaking during the commissioning of the first National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) Integrated Farm Estate in Katsina on July 19, President Buhari noted that reliance on oil had turned a drawback on the economy over the years, with unpredictable and fluctuating global prices that made it more difficult to effectively plan budgets, implement and measure outcomes.
He said the mainstay of the Nigerian economy remains agriculture, where the country already commands a competitive advantage, with good weather conditions for crop and livestock farming, available manpower and willingness to learn new skills and good soil types for all-season farming.
“We can do it, and we will do it. No excuse will be good enough to remain a mono-economy with all the challenges in oil production and fluctuating global prices when we have vast opportunities in crop and livestock production,” the President said.
The recent rise in banditry, kidnapping and herder/farmer clashes has, however, had a huge impact on the ability of farmers to freely go about their businesses.
The Federal Government has approved a strategy to address the worsening rate of poverty in the country.
President Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, informed State House correspondents that the issue of poverty was debated on Wednesday at the Federal Executive Council meeting.
He said the Muhammadu Buhari administration acknowledged that there was poverty in the country and has put measures in place to fight the scourge.
Part of the measures to address the situation was the approval of a National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy presented at the meeting held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
The President’s spokesman stated that the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who heads the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC), would chair the steering committee to provide overall guidance for the implementation of the strategy.
The council also noted the Federal Government’s promise to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty and observed that June 12 would make it two years since the promise was made, Adesina said.
According to him, the council concludes that the effort is a work in progress and the government stands by its promise and will play its own part until the expiration of the tenure of the current administration.
Adesina disclosed that the council equally approved the implementation of the strategy and its incorporation into A Medium-Term National Development Plan 2021-2025 and Agenda 2050.
President Buhari, he said, has directed the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to prepare a bill for submission to the National Assembly to enable sustainable implementation of the strategy.
The meeting presided by President Buhari was physically attended by the Vice President, as well as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha; and the President’s Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari.
Some of those who were physically present included the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, Malami, Timipre Sylva (Minister of State for Petroleum Resources), Geoffrey Onyeama (Minister of Foreign Affairs), Zainab Ahmed (Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning), and Lai Mohammed (Minister of Information and Culture).
President Muhammadu Buhari says the administration’s policy of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty is a deliberate one that will be pursued with remarkable grit and determination.
Speaking on Tuesday at a meeting with the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC), which was also attended by Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo at the State House in Abuja, he stated that the policy did not come by accident or “something we just bumped into.”
The President agreed with the Council that the country required a poverty reduction strategy that would usher in a “rapid, sustained, sustainable and inclusive” economic growth.
In a short speech after the presentation of the report on the national poverty reduction strategy developed by the PEAC, President Buhari requested the Council to present the document to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday as part of the consultation process.
He also aligned with the Council’s position that the programme of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty was a challenging one, but one that could be achieved.
President Buhari wondered what became of the nation in the past, “with all the resources available to it” that no such coordinated, holistic agenda on poverty reduction was contemplated.
“I was shocked, hearing from you that, of the vast agricultural land resources available to the nation, only two per cent of it is under irrigation”, he said with an assurance that his administration would make the best use of the land.
“Thank you for shaking us up. We are now awake, we will not doze off again. We didn’t just bump into this, we believe it is something we can deliver on,” he added.
The PEAC Chairman, Professor Doyin Salami, who led the presentation, said the plan had so far gained an overwhelming approval of stakeholders across the country.
It had earlier been presented to the Vice President; secretaries to governments of all the 36 states, the governors, as well as development partners, including the World Bank, IMF and AfDB, and civil society organisations, and the organised private sector actors.
Professor Salami welcomed the country’s exit from recession but cautioned that the strength of the economic growth must be driven in a way that it would overtake population growth.
As presented, the poverty reduction strategy requires the nation to aim to raise agricultural productivity, address the wide disparity among states and the regions in the distribution of poverty, ensure macro-economic stability, and take advantage of the different economic endowments of the country in the promotion of industrialisation.
In defining the principles of the new strategy, the Council said the approach would be multi-dimensional.
“Poverty is not only the lack of cash. It is defined by lack of access to shelter, health, education, and jobs which must all be addressed,” it stated.
While nothing that there had in the past been varied attempts to eradicate poverty in the country, the Council submitted that it was the first time Nigeria would consolidate on the achievements of the past and avoid past mistakes.
“It is the first time that everyone is coming on board – Federal Government, states, the private sector, development partners and the civil society. Poverty reduction must not be left to the Federal Government alone, it is everybody’s responsibility,” it said.
To this effect, the Council suggested the setting up of a “National Council on Poverty Reduction,” made up of all these stakeholders, and it was accepted by the President.
According to the President’s media aide, Garba Shehu, the poverty reduction strategy benefited from extensive consultations among all stakeholders in both the public and private sectors to achieve “ownership and sustainability”.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) has said that the Federal Government’s vision to lift at least 20 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next two years is now within reach.
Professor Osinbajo stated this on Tuesday in Abuja during the virtual flag-off of the cash transfer scheme, called the Rapid Response Register (RRR), to be facilitated through a wholly technology-based approach.
This followed the successful activation of the Economic Sustainability Plan’s (ESP) Cash Transfer scheme aimed at delivering financial support to at least 1 million urban-based households.
According to the Vice President, RRR is a means by which the urban poor and vulnerable population can be speedily identified using geographic satellite technology and other related means for the purposes of delivering cash to households affected by the fallouts of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
“The groundbreaking success of the RRR, now emboldens us to achieve our aspiration of a social security programme for a minimum of twenty million Nigerians in the next two years. This will be the largest of its kind on the continent. This (aspiration) is, at least from the perspective of this tested approach, now well within our reach,” a statement by the Vice President’s aide, Laolu Akande quoted him as saying.
“The only constraint, of course, is the funding which we must look for because, this country deserves a social security scheme that will not merely alleviate poverty but also create wealth for the millions of those who are waiting for this opportunity.
“Our government launched the National Social Protection Policy (NSPP) in 2017 to provide the framework for institutionalizing the work we started since 2016 on reducing extreme poverty in Nigeria, based on our administration’s vision to create a comprehensive social security programme for the poor and vulnerable and thereafter the pledge to lift 100 million Nigerian’s out of poverty in ten years.”
The Vice President maintained that the launch of the (RRR) social protection method of targeting, which is the first strategy to be developed and tested in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, would enable Nigeria tackle poverty in a more systematic manner, leveraging technology to expand the scope of the interventions.
“As of 31st December 2020, we have identified and registered about 24.3 million poor and vulnerable individuals into the National Social Register; equivalent to about 5.7 million households. Through this project, we are currently injecting about N10 Billion directly into the hands of about 2 million poor and vulnerable people every month,” the Vice President said.
“This is about the largest evidence-based effort by any administration on poverty reduction and its impact on the lives of the poor is huge; by way of improving the livelihoods of the beneficiaries through enhanced household purchasing power; smoothening consumption; increasing savings and acquisition of household assets; and improving the local economy. There are many more ramifications.”
Earlier in her remarks, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, said the initiative would provide a gateway to other important government programmes, adding that Nigeria now has a database for impact tracking and the expansion of social interventions and related programmes, in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision of extending financial support to more Nigerians.
She said: “By design, this register links to other databases such as banking information of respondents and national identity numbers. It is also a process that is advanced in unifying national databank towards the delivery of social development in Nigeria. There is no doubt that in future, as has been demonstrated in the previous presentation, we would be reverting to the process used here and the register itself, to aid emergency assistance”.
On his part, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Mr Subham Chaudhuri commended the Federal Government for the initiative, noting that it as a critical component in the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While pledging the support of the World Bank for the project, Mr Chaudhuri emphasized the need for stakeholders to remain transparent in the selection and disbursement of the funds to the beneficiaries.
About 3,115 households received alerts of payments instantly at the flag-off of the project by the Vice President.
A total of 1 million households would be impacted directly under the scheme in the next 6 months.
The Cash Transfer scheme which is part of the ESP is designed to build a shock responsive framework for capturing and registering the urban poor and vulnerable populations across Nigeria. The RRR focuses mainly on the urban poor wards selected using scientifically validated methods of satellite remote sensing technology, machine learning algorithm and big data analysis.
Also present at the event were the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige; the representative of the European Union (EU) mission in Nigeria, Mr Ketil Karlsen, among others.
The former vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general elections, Peter Obi has said that Nigeria will have 110million poor people by the end of 2020.
He disclosed this on Friday in Awka, the Anambra State capital during a PDP Southeast Summit ahead of the 2023 general elections.
“Your country is drifting, it is collapsing. And if you don’t do anything, it will set its revenge on you,” Obi said.
“The World Bank released a report, go and read that report. This year alone, 11 million Nigerians will fall into poverty.
“The 11 million is on top of the 100 million that is already there. That means by the end of this year, Nigeria will have over 110 million people living in poverty. It is important to know that of this 11 million person falling into poverty, eight million are youths.”
On his party, PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus called on the youths to be creative and innovative, adding that power rests on them
According to the opposition, the party leadership has created a policy to initiate policies that will empower the young Nigerians.
In the World Bank’s report, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic could increase Nigeria’s poverty rate by as much as 15 to 20 million by 2022.
The latest World Bank Nigeria Development Update report tagged “rising to the challenge: Nigeria’s COVID response” stated that in the next three years, an average Nigerian could see a reversal of decades of economic growth and the country could enter its deepest recession since the 1980s.
According to the bank’s Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, if there are no measures to mitigate the impact of the crisis, the economy could shrink up to 4 percent in 2020 following the twin shocks of COVID-19 and low oil prices.
“Nigeria is at a critical historical juncture, with a choice to make. Nigeria can choose to break decisively from business-as-usual and rise to its considerable potential by sustaining the bold reforms that have been taken thus far and going even further and with an even greater sense of urgency to promote faster and more inclusive economic growth.”
In Syria, 4.8 million children need aid after a civil war has killed more than 380,000 people, displaced millions and ravaged the economy.
A further 2.5 million live as refugees in neighbouring countries after their parents fled the almost ten-year conflict.
In Sudan, 5.3 million children need aid because of unprecedented floods, an economic crisis and a sweeping political transition from autocratic rule toward democracy.
In Lebanon, 1.9 million children now rely on assistance as the economy has plummeted and following a massive explosion in Beirut that killed more than 200 people and ravaged large parts of the capital in August.
Most funds requested in UNICEF’s appeal would go towards supporting children’s education, while the rest would ensure access to water, sanitation, healthcare and nutrition, and mental health support, it said.
“We hear of fatigue to fund long-term crises like in Yemen and Syria,” Chaiban said.
But he stressed that “the world cannot turn a blind eye to the needs of children impacted by two of the most horrific conflicts in recent history”.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi does not see anything wrong with calls for the restructuring of the country but insists tackling hunger and poverty is more critical to the federal government.
“If to you what is important is restructuring, I don’t see anything wrong with restructuring but I am saying it is not the most critical problem we have,” the Minister said on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics. “The most critical problem we have is that hunger and poverty are breeding insecurity.”
Amaechi who was the governor of Rivers State between 2007 and 2015, explained that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is more concerned about reducing poverty in the country, and believes that creating jobs for the people will keep them away from crime.
“If you are able to create employment, you create security. If you like hire as many men as you want to hire that are policemen, you would do nothing until you put food in the hands of people,” the 55-year-old who moved to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in November 2013, added. “When you do not create a legitimate economy, the people will create for themselves an illegitimate economy and be able to feed themselves.”
– More Than Boko Haram –
While admitting that many farmers are unable to go to their farms in some parts of the country, the APC chieftain said Nigeria is facing a kind of insecurity unlike what was obtainable in the past.
“We are facing a different kind of insecurity,” the minister noted, a few days after the United Nations said at least 110 civilians were ruthlessly killed and many others wounded when Boko Haram insurgents attacked villages near Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
“When we were in power as governors, the problem we were facing was Boko Haram. Not is it much more than Boko Haram. We need to address those issues.”
The Vice-Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 elections, Mr. Peter Obi, has decried the rate of poverty in Nigeria.
In a statement issued on Monday, Obi “warned that no nation can develop and prosper with a rising large poor population as in Nigeria.”
For Obi, the “poverty rate in Nigeria should worry every concerned leader because there couldn’t be national growth under this situation,” adding that “no country can develop and prosper with a rising large poor population as in Nigeria.”
He explained that “Poverty is dehumanizing, it is therefore left for humanity to create a better world by putting measures in place to eradicate poverty and give everyone the chance to live a meaningful life.”
He asked government agencies, organizations and wealthy people around the country to join hands to combat poverty and reduce it to the barest minimum so as to have a safe environment.
The former governor of Anambra State lamented that the country “has become the poverty capital of the world, with over 90 million people living in poverty and more than 15 million out-of-school children roaming the streets, Obi said that the government could not continue to turn a blind eye to such depressing situation.”
Obi advised the Federal and state governments to invest in economic growth, explaining that doing so would “lift people out of poverty in no distant time noting that investment in education and health, and support for small businesses, remain the pivotal ways of eradicating poverty in any nation.
“To combat poverty in Nigeria, organizations and wealthy individuals must deploy their resources to support government investments in these critical areas.”
President Muhammadu Buhari has called for support and synergy from the National Assembly in lifting 100million Nigerians from poverty in the next 10 years.
The President made this call on Monday during a joint Executive-Legislative Leadership Retreat which held at the State House Conference Centre in Abuja.
According to him, the synergy is necessary to enable the government to easily realize development goals, and respond to changes in the economy faster like the COVID-19 that necessitated the review of the 2020 budget.
“There can only be one Government in a nation at a time and officials both elected and appointed in the Executive or Legislative arm must all be working for the peace, unity and development of our country,” President Buhari said
“Similarly, I unveiled a (9) Nine-Point Priority Development Agenda of this administration aimed at improving the livelihood of Nigerians within the next three years.
“These include: building a thriving and sustainable economy; enhancing social inclusion and reducing poverty; enlarging agricultural output for food security and export and attaining energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products.”
President Buhari said the Federal Executive Council had already streamlined its priorities to nine areas of development, and ministers had been mandated to align their targets with the bigger picture of making life better for all Nigerians, urging the legislature to align its priorities as well.
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STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE
HOW TO HANDLE LEGISLATIONS YOU HAVE MISGIVINGS ABOUT, BY PRESIDENT BUHARI
Appreciating members of the ninth National Assembly for understanding, support and quick response to policy directions of the government on Monday in Abuja, President Muhammadu Buhari called for more synergy to consolidate on the gains recorded, particularly the ongoing effort to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in ten years.
The President equally charged the populace to be patient with the government, advising that whenever there’s any legislation they have misgivings about, “they should engage the process for such laws in line with democratic processes.”
In his remarks at the Joint Executive-Legislative Leadership Retreat, held at the State House Conference Centre, President Buhari said the collaboration enjoyed from the leadership of the National Assembly had made it easier for the government to set and realize development goals, and respond to changes in the economy faster like the Coronavirus pandemic that necessitated a review of the 2020 budget.
According to the President, some of the gains recorded from working together also include: the accelerated passage of the 2020 Budget and its review in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, timely confirmation of nominees, and passage of critical legislation by the National Assembly.
“This retreat provides us with another opportunity to interface, reflect, brainstorm and engage as One Government. I use the word One Government because there can only be one Government in a nation at a time and officials both elected and appointed in the Executive or Legislative arm must all be working for the peace, unity and development of our country.
“This Retreat named: “Promoting Effective Executive-Legislative Partnership: Finding a Middle Ground” is apt as it reflects the peculiarity of a Presidential system of government like ours.
“The experience of the last 20 years of steady democratic practice in Nigeria has underlined the need for effective partnership and collaboration between the executive and legislative arms of government to deliver on our mandate.’’
President Buhari told the legislators that the Federal Executive Council had already streamlined its priorities to nine areas of development, and ministers had been mandated to align their targets with the bigger picture of making life better for all Nigerians, urging the legislature to align its priorities as well.
“While all members of the Federal Executive Council have been given clear mandates and yearly targets towards achieving the set indicators and goals, I recognize the critical role of the National Assembly in helping to deliver this Agenda and the strategic goals set by this Government.
“We cannot do this alone without your support and collaboration. I am equally aware that both the Senate and the House of Representatives have adopted the new Legislative Agenda for the current Assembly. I must thank the Senate President and Rt. Honourable Speaker for the updated version of the Legislative Agenda of the 9th National Assembly.
“The urgent need for aligning the 9-Point priority Agenda and the Legislative Agenda of both the Senate and the House of Representatives cannot be over-emphasized. I will therefore suggest that a Technical Committee be established after this retreat to harmonise these critical and strategic documents to help improve synergy and coordination.’’
President Buhari said he had already inaugurated a National Steering Committee co-chaired by the Honourable Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning and Mr Peterside Atedo with representation from the National Assembly to oversee the development of the Nigeria Agenda 2050 and Medium-Term National Development Plan (MTNDP) to succeed vision 20:2020 and the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020.
The President said the National Steering Committee will facilitate the linkage between policy-plans and budget in a manner that will help lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within the next 10 years.
“Similarly, I unveiled a (9) Nine-Point Priority Development Agenda of this administration aimed at improving the livelihood of Nigerians within the next three years. These include: building a thriving and sustainable economy; enhancing social inclusion and reducing poverty; enlarging agricultural output for food security and export and attaining energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products.
“Expand transport and other infrastructural development; expand business growth, entrepreneurship and industrialisation; expand access to quality education, affordable healthcare and productivity of Nigerians; build a system to fight corruption on a permanent basis, improve governance and create social cohesion and improve security for all.’’
President Buhari recommended the establishment of a Technical Working Group to synthesise the outcome of the retreat and make appropriate recommendations to the leadership of the Federal Executive Council and the National Assembly in order to drive effective implementation of the resolutions or agreements reached.
“Let me also remind our fellow patriots, countrymen and women, that the process of law-making and governance are dynamic and ever evolving. I will seek their indulgence to be patient with any legislation or law which they have certain misgivings about, and engage the process for reviewing such laws in line with democratic practices.’’
The President thanked the ninth National Assembly leadership and legislators for the cordial and warm relationship enjoyed in one year.
President Muhammadu Buhari has inaugurated the National Steering Committee to oversee Nigeria’s Agenda 2050.
The committee is to ensure that the Medium-Term National Development Plan (MTNDP) succeeds the Vision 20:2020 and the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017 – 2020.
The team will be jointly chaired by Mr Atedo Peterside and the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed.
Part of the task before the group is to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within the next 10 years.
“The main objectives of these Successor Plans are to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within the next 10 years, particularly given the World Bank’s projection that Nigeria will become the world’s third most populous country by 2050 with over 400 million people,” President Buhari said.
For Buhari, it had become necessary to develop successor plans to the Nigeria Vision 20:2020 and the ERGP, which will lapse in December, to ensure continuity and efficiency in the country’s development planning.
On the mandate of the members, President Buhari said it would oversee governance structure comprising the Central Working Group and 26 Technical Working Groups for the important national assignment.
“It is my expectation that the Steering Committee will oversee the execution of key deliverables, including recommending measures to ensure the continuous implementation of the Plans even after the expiration of the tenure of successive Administrations – including legislation, if required.
“Such legislation may introduce much-needed rigour and discipline to the nation’s development planning as well as institutionalise planned outcomes for the future. I trust that our partners in the National Assembly will support us in exploring these reforms,” he said.
While asking members not to lose sight Nigeria’s role globally, President Buhari said the Successor Plans must, therefore, be designed to sustain national development, support regional and global strategic interests, as outlined in the African Union Agenda 2063, the ECOWAS Integration Agenda 2050 and the Sustainable Development Goals 2030.
Global economic growth could rebound next year — but the number of people living in extreme poverty is expected to remain unchanged after a huge surge this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the World Bank warned Tuesday.
The projection came after the Washington-based development lender said Monday the pandemic could drive between 70 and 100 million people into extreme poverty in 2020 as the global economy faces its worst recession in 80 years.
Before the pandemic, extreme poverty — defined as living on $1.90 per day — had been decreasing.
The bank expects growth to rebound by four percent in 2021.
But the countries with the highest shares of the world’s extremely poor are not projected to grow faster than their population, meaning that extreme poverty will remain at the elevated 2020 levels through 2021.
“Nigeria, India and the Democratic Republic of Congo — three countries which we project are home to more than a third of the world’s poor — are predicted to have per-capita growth rates in real GDP of –0.8 percent, 2.1 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively,” the World Bank said in a blog.
The economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic could push as many as 86 million more children into poverty by the end of 2020, a joint study by Save the Children and UNICEF showed Wednesday.
That would bring the total number of children affected by poverty worldwide to 672 million, an increase of 15 per cent over last year, the two aid agencies said in a statement.
Nearly two-thirds of those children overall live in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
But the pandemic-driven increase is expected to occur mainly in Europe and Central Asia, according to the study, which is based on World Bank and International Monetary Fund projections and population data from some 100 countries.
“The scale and depth of financial hardship among families threatens to roll back years of progress in reducing child poverty and to leave children deprived of essential services,” UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore is quoted as saying in the statement.
With immediate and decisive action, “we can prevent and contain the pandemic threat facing the poorest countries and some of the most vulnerable children,” added Save the Children head Inger Ashing.
They are “highly vulnerable to even short periods of hunger and malnutrition — potentially affecting them for their whole life,” she warns in the statement.
The two organizations call on governments to rapidly expand their social security systems and school feeding to limit the effects of the pandemic.