110m Nigerians are poor, says Osinbajo

0

The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo has disclosed that Nigeria has close to 110 million people who are poor and about two-tenth are in extreme poverty.

He said this was why the Muham­madu Buhari administration initiated the N0.5 trillion social investment pro­grammme, to empower people in a sus­tainable way.

Osinbajo, said this at a side event hosted by the President of Ghana, Mr. John Mahama, on Africa and Sustain­able Development Goals (SDGs) at the African Union meeting in Kigali, Rwanda.

According to him, Nigeria and other African nations must urgently address the problems of poverty and inequality even as the global community focuses on its new Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs.

Osinbajo who led the Nigerian dele­gation to the AU meeting noted that the whole idea of the SDGs “is really about addressing inequality and poverty. The problems are so obvious that, however ,we describe the programme, we really must do something and do so urgently.”

Speaking on what Nigeria was doing to address poverty in the land, the Vice President said the 2016 budget had the largest sum in the history of the coun­try assigned to social investment pro­gramme.

His words: “In Nigeria, in the current budget cycle we have the largest social protection programme in the history of the country. It’s a N500 billion pro­gramme, worth over $2.5 billion as at the time the budget was signed.

“Basically we are looking at lifting many out of poverty; of course many are familiar with the size of the Nigerian state and we have close to 110 million people who are poor and about two-tenth are in extreme poverty.

“So it is a very huge problem and part of what we are trying to do is to look at how not just to empower people but also to ensure that what they are given is sustainable.

“For the women, we are doing a pro­gramme, micro-credit programme for a million market women and artisans.

“All would be given credit facilities and training to enable them be able to do some work for themselves and to continue to be able to live.

“And we think that giving this micro-credit loan to women is to make sure that they handle money better and do a much better work on the whole. So, I think that with what we’ve done already, we have seen that they are certainly going to work. In the case of Conditional Cash Transfer, again we are handing these to women. We are giving another million, to the poorest of the poor. In determin­ing the poorest lot, we had problems on that, but we have very good assistance from the World Bank and the Bill Gates Foundation. They helped in trying to map the really poor.”