President Muhammadu Buhari has again rehashed his government’s pledge to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.
Although critics have described it as a daunting task, Mr Buhari said in the 61st independence anniversary broadcast Thursday that the target was achievable.
“We remain confident that our goal of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years is achievable,” Mr Buhari maintained.
In any case, amid a high inflation rate and rising unemployment figure not helped by a devalued naira, the target is expected to be a tall order.
Already, inflation and rising prices pushed about 7 million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020 alone, the World Bank said in June – an albatross that has weakened the purchasing power of Nigerians significantly.
The unemployment rate also spiked to 33.3 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020, the highest in over 13 years.
When these gloomy figures are placed side-by-side with the estimated 27.4 million Nigerians earning less than N100,000 yearly, according to the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), it shows the government clearly has its work well cut out for it.
But President Buhari said he was committed to flipping this page, and he downplayed the allegations that his talks are often dogged by inertia.
He noted that he has approved the expansion of the beneficiaries of the administration’s social investment programme, N-Power, from 500,000 to 1,000,000.
“Out of this, 510,000 have started the programme while the competitive selection process for onboarding the outstanding 490,000 beneficiaries is in progress,” Mr Buhari said.
“The National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme is currently being implemented in 35 States of the Federation and the FCT. Over 103,000 women have been engaged and empowered as cooks under the programme, while about 10 million pupils are being fed across public primary schools in the country.
“To grant increased access to credit to the most poor and vulnerable, I have directed an increase in the disbursement of Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme loans to an additional one million beneficiaries laying more emphasis on the smallholding farmers through the farmers Moni program,” he added.
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