Nigeria: Poverty Is Big Economic Challenge, Buhari Says

President Muhammadu Buhari.
23 October 2018

President Muhammadu Buhari has said the federal government is particular about charting a new course to esnure economic prosperity for the greater majority of Nigerian.

He noted that poverty has become one of the biggest economic challenges facing the country.

The President however said Nigeria must improve its educational system in order to address the poverty challenges in the country.

Represented by Vice Presdent, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Buhari spoke at the opening of the 24th edition of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG) yesterday in Abuja, with the theme "Poverty to Prosperity: Making Governance and Institutions to work".

He emphasised that quality education with increased enrolment of students in schools including adult education and also getting the about 9 million out-of-school children back to school was important to improve Nigeria's educational system and address its poverty challenges.

He also emphasised that government was particular about charting the course from poverty to prosperity for the greater majority adding that "for decades poverty has become one of the biggest economic challenge for Nigeria, and has persisted even when the nation earned its highest revenue".

He also said government's approach to reverse poverty focuses on ensuring that at least 30% of its budget is spent on capital projects since 2016.

He complained that grand corruption that characterized the country increased the challenges in revenue generation adding that no economy can survive from theft of its commonwealth by its custodians as was done in the previous administrations.

He also said poor investment in infrastructure and poor commitment to diversification also affected the country's economy when the oil price dwindled but assured of FG's commitment in reversing the poverty challenges of the country.

Also speaking, Minister of Budget and National Planning Senator Udoma Udo Udoma said through the Economic and Growth Plan (ERGP) government has identified areas that are focused on achieving positive, inclusive and sustainable economic growth for Nigeria.

He said government was committed in reducing poverty and hence invested in initiatives to curb corruption thereby allocating resources for the common good of the nation

Keynote speaker at the event Professor Peter Lewis of the John Hopkins University described the summit as a platform for dialogue and high-level strategy creation.

While delivering his lecture titled "Poverty to Prosperity: Making Governments and Institutions Work" Professor Lewis identified political guidance as an important element in managing economic change.

He also called for the revival of sectorial strategies especially its industrial policies and urged for emphasis on livelihoods rather than jobs with the formal sector employment desired.

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