Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday said the President Muhammadu Buhari administration plans to rely on a common-sense strategy to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within a time frame of 10 years.
Speaking at the inaugural meeting of the National Steering Committee on Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Prof. Osinbajo said the government would adopt a different and more effective approach in actualising the objective of eradicating poverty in the country for the sake of delivering results.
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Mr. Laolu Akande, quoted Prof Osinbajo as saying, “I want us to approach this as much as possible, common-sensical so that we can resolve all the issues and focus on the real progress.
“I want us to look beyond all of what we are going to be doing, there is going to be a considerable amount of paperwork, but a lot of common sense is what grows economies. It’s what other countries have done, not reinventing the wheel. So, I want us to focus on those common-sensical things so that we can move forward.”
Expressing the hope that this way, the Committee will be able to achieve rapid progress, Prof. Osinbajo said, “in order not to make this merely, another of those high-sounding committees that eventually achieve nothing, we have to be very intentional about our objectives and how to achieve them.”
Citing the example of Bangladesh where a poverty reduction strategy was also implemented, the Vice-President noted how the country’s manufacturing sector was key.
“Bangladesh exports more garments than we export oil,” the VP said.
According to him, “countries that have managed to get out of poverty have created a lot of jobs through industries, and they have developed intentional strategies.
“We must look at what others have done, the smart things that other people have done, and adopt. We have to think smartly about how we are funding agriculture.
“I think we really need to take a deep dive because governments have made several efforts at poverty alleviation but generally speaking, they have not yielded the sort of results they should yield, and I think it’s because there is a lot of focus on documentation and paperwork and very little common-sense approaches,” the VP added.
Osinbajo explained that the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy is meant to be a national strategy, not just a federal effort and it is aimed at taking 100 million people, nationally, out of poverty within a target time-frame of 10 years.
He said, “I just want to emphasise that it is a national strategy as opposed to a federal strategy which is why the steering committee is made up of federal, as well as state officials.”
While also emphasising the role of the private sector, the VP said, “Essentially, this effort must also be directed at how to facilitate private sector creation of jobs. The fact is that there is no way that the federal government or the state governments can create the number of jobs that we need.
“We need to take a few broad looks at the features of what constitutes our present predicaments in terms of job losses and unemployment.”
Prof. Osinbajo said efforts will be made to focus attention on creating opportunities for Nigerians to earn decent livelihoods in addition to equipping them with the necessary vocational skills.
Also in attendance at the meeting were Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, who is also Nigeria Governors Forum Chairman, Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State, and Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha; Ministers of Agriculture, Muhammad Nanono; Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, and Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, also attended, while the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba joined the meeting virtually.