18 September 2018

Nigeria: Buhari's Govt Has Taken Ten Million Nigerians Out of Poverty, Minister Claims

Photo: The Guardian
President Muhammadu Buhari.

Nigeria's minister of budget and national planning Senator Udoma Udo Udoma said the country's government under president Muhammadu Buhari has moved over ten million Nigerians out of poverty.

Udoma's statement contradicts a recent Brookings Institution report which listed Nigeria as the country with the highest number of citizens living below the poverty line.

The minister made the claim on Tuesday while speaking on arrangements for the 24th Nigerian Economic Summit (NES#24) in Abuja.

He said federal government had taken steps to move over 10 million Nigerians from poverty to prosperity as one of the key priorities of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP by investing in its citizens.

The minister said the Buhari-led government had provided food for 8.96million school children under the Home Grown School Feeding Programme.

He also said the Nigerian government has supported over 297,000 poor and vulnerable citizens with cash transfer of N5,000. He maintained that more than 308,000 loans of N50,000 and above have been disbursed under the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP).

Udoma further stated that 200,000 young unemployed graduates have been empowered through the N-Power scheme, while over 308,000 had been selected for consideration for the second batch.

"We have taken steps towards moving our people from Poverty to prosperity. Indeed, one of the key priorities of the ERGP is investing in our people," Udoma said.

"That objective has been behind many Government programmes, particularly the Social Investment Programme. Under this programme, we have empowered millions of Nigerian youths, women and children,"

"To combat hunger and achieve food security, we have raised capital provisions for agriculture from N8.8billion in 2015 to N149.2billion in the 2018 budget. Over N82 billion has been disbursed as a credit to more than 350,000 farmers under the Anchor Borrowers' programme."

He noted that the government had empowered farmers with 14 moribund fertilizer blending plants have been revitalized through the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI), with a total capacity of 2.3million metric tons of NPK fertilizer.

"Nigeria's milled rice production has increased by about 60% and since 2016 eight new rice mills have been brought into production."

Udoma, while stating reasons for the low GDP growth in the country, blamed insecurity and low oil production, assuring that effort was on to meet the growth target.

"We are aware of the fact that the GDP growth in the last quarter was below the estimated target. This is because of the growing insecurity and low oil production but we are working hard to meet our growth target."

"It is important to note that the non-oil sector has been growing. That is why we have been working harder to be where we want to be. We will also work harder on agriculture to address hunger and food insecurity in the country," Udoma said.

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