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.
SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:
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.
The National Bureau of Statistics on Monday said 40.1 per cent of Nigerians live in poverty.
The bureau said over 82.9 million people in the country earn below the poverty benchmark of N137,430 per year.
The data, contained in the NBS’ Nigerian Living Standard Survey report, was gathered between September 2018 and October 2019.
“In Nigeria 40.1 per cent of the total population were classified as poor,” the NBS report said. “In other words, on average, four out of 10 individuals in Nigeria have real per capita expenditures below N137,430 per year.
“This translates to over 82.9 million Nigerians who are considered poor by national standards. It is important to note that this number excludes the state of Borno.”
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) says the Federal Government remains committed to taking millions of Nigerians out of poverty.
Malami said this on Tuesday at the distribution of microloans to 1,500 women and youths in Kebbi State organised by the National Directorate of Employment.
According to him, the singular action of empowering Nigerians with macro loans for boosting small scale business activities demonstrates the government’s efforts in that regard.
Speaking further, the minister also noted that achieving economically productive, socially responsible and culturally viable womenfolk requires systematic and consistent efforts, as women constitute a critical sector and essential component to reckon with for any meaningful national development.
The AGF said he was optimistic that the microloan given would boost business activities in the area especially in view of the forthcoming Argungu International Fishing and Cultural Festivals.
According to him, in addition to facilitating job creation through the establishment of new ministries, departments and agencies, the Federal Government is committed to massive employment of teaming Nigerian populace in various Ministries, Departments and Agencies including security and paramilitary sectors.
While congratulating the beneficiaries of the scheme, Malami urged them to make judicious use of the funds provided.
The Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido, has decried the high level of poverty in the Northern region of the country, stressing that such status is a cause for concern for its leaders.
Sanusi who spoke at an event marking the 60th birthday of the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, said the north leads other regions with 87 per cent of people living in poverty.
“The truth is nobody who is a leader in northern Nigeria today can afford to be happy. You cannot be happy with 87 per cent of the poverty in Nigeria being in the North. You cannot be happy with millions of northern children out of school.
“You can’t be happy with nine states in the north contributing 50 per cent of the entire malnutrition burden in the country. You can’t be happy with the drug problem, you can’t be happy with the Boko Haram problem,” he said.
Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido, speaks on the poverty situation in the north.While wishing El-Rufai a happy birthday, Sanusi noted that he doesn’t expect the governor to be happy considering the numerous problems facing the zone.
According to him, the issues of political thuggery during elections, the Almajiri children among others also disturb leaders.
Speaking further, he said: “Because of the problem of northern Nigeria, it’s almost a cliché to say that if you are a governor or leader in the North and if you are seen as normal in the sense that you continue to do what your predecessors are doing which has been normalized, then there is something wrong with you,” he said.
Pope Francis insisted on Wednesday that poverty could be beaten if the world’s rich play a full part in ending inequality as he attended a conference on financial inclusion.
“We are neither condemned to inequality nor to paralysis in the face of injustice. The rich world and a prosperous economy can and must end poverty,” the Argentinian pontiff told participants as he made an unscheduled appearance.
“We must be conscious of all being responsible. If extreme poverty exists amid riches which are also extreme it is because we have allowed a gap to grow to become the largest in history,” said Francis, who has made inequality a central theme of his papacy.
Listening to his address were notably IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and Argentine counterpart Martin Guzman.
“People who are poor in indebted countries suffer from strong fiscal pressure and the cutting of social services,” Francis added.
Calling for the “globalisation of hope,” Georgieva responded that “the first task is to put the economy at the service of the people,” highlighting the need to address the issue of “inequality of opportunity.”
The International Monetary Fund head also urged investment in people and education. But she also stressed the need to prioritise the environment as “none of the economic challenges we face today will be important in 20 years if we do not today confront the challenge of climate change.”
Former Vice President and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has highlighted poverty and illiteracy as parts of the major challenges Nigeria must tackle urgently.
Following his repeated calls on the Federal Government to give special attention to the menace, Atiku believes this would go a long way in addressing the issue of insecurity and other problems bevelling the nation.
In his New Year message on Tuesday, the elder statesman observed that the rate of insecurity would reduce in the country if poverty was addressed, with a special focus on the war against insurgency in the North East.
“The problems of extreme poverty and scant investments in education play huge roles in fuelling the problems of violent extremism that we spent the past decade contending with.
“We cannot win the fight against terrorism if we do nothing to reduce or eliminate poverty and illiteracy.
“The reality of this new decade requires us to recalibrate our approaches and to pursue some tough choices. If failure is not an option, then we must let go of our egos and conveniences,” the PDP candidate said.
According to him, the New Year will require Nigerians to stay together more than ever before to take on, head front, the common enemy of insecurity.
Atiku said he does not share what he described as the sentiment that the outgone 2019 was a successful year for Nigerians.
He stated, “The bitter truth is that Nigeria is still in the throes of economic instability, with more people losing jobs and the attendant outcome of more children being out of school and more families having hard time in accessing basic needs of life.”
The former vice president, therefore, called on the Muhammadu Buhari administration to review its economic policies and improve the situation.
He also stressed the need for a deliberate effort to improve the material wellbeing of the people by lifting millions of Nigerians out of poverty into prosperity.
Mauritania’s president has pledged the equivalent of 500 million euros ($550 million) to fight poverty ahead of a key state anniversary, after coming to power four months ago on vows to help the poor.
In remarks broadcast on the eve of Thursday’s independence celebrations, Mohamed Ould Cheikh El Ghazouani said the sum, which will be allocated over five years, would fund a specialised anti-poverty agency.
The former general took office in August, in the first transition of power between two elected leaders in the West African state’s history.
He swept to a first-round victory in elections on June 22 on pledges to strengthen the military and attack poverty.
Mauritania ranks among the poorest countries in the world despite rich deposits of gold, iron and copper.
On top of the money for the anti-poverty agency, Ghazouani promised the government would offer “free legal assistance” to the destitute in Wednesday evening’s broadcast.
About 33 percent of Mauritanians lived below the poverty line of $1.90 (1.7 euros) a day in 2014, according to the World Bank, compared to 44.5 percent in 2008.
But poverty remains endemic in the capital Nouakchott, the bank said, and women and children are marginalised.
Vast and mostly desert, the conservative nation has suffered a string of military coups in its history, with the latest occurring in 2008.
The leader of the 2008 putsch, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, won elections in 2009 and again in 2014, and was suspected by opposition leaders of wanting to stay for a third term.
However, he decided instead to pass the baton to his longtime ally Ghazouani.
Annual festivities commemorating Mauritanian self-rule take place in a different place each year.
Thursday’s celebration — marking 59 years of independence — was held in Akjoujt, a gold-rich town in the west of the country which is also the birthplace of Aziz.
Aziz was notably absent, however. He and Ghazouani are rumoured to have fallen out.
Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi — the ex-president deposed in the 2008 coup — was present.