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Economy & Politics

How government can pull millions of people out of poverty – Peter Obi

Peter Obi has advised the Federal Government on what to do to pull millions of people out of poverty.

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Katsina Abduction, Recession: Economy should be redirected from wasteful-consumption to productivity — Peter Obi

The former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi has said that pulling millions of Nigerians out of poverty is not rocket science, urging that Nigeria has multiple examples to learn from developing countries, instead of a transactional cash transfer.

Peter Obi disclosed this in an interview with Arise TV on Tuesday.

The former Vice Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party stated that Nigerians living in poverty are being under-serviced by the government as the N5000 is not enough and does not address their demands for growth.

READ: Only 68.8% of Nigerians believe Covid-19 is real – SBM Intel

Lifting Nigerians out of poverty

Obi said, “there are those who are earning $1.9 a day, approximately N800 a day, multiply by 30 days, which is N24 thousand naira, and you are paying them N5000 (GEEP).

“So we are paying them 40% of what they live on daily, worse, it is going to be paid for 6 months.”

He added that there are clear and tried examples to pull people out of poverty, which needs to focus on monetary stimulus and small enterprises.

“If you want to pull people out of poverty, there are clear examples that are universal.

“We need to have a properly, articulated, physical and monetary stimulus to support micro, medium and small enterprises, to be able to pull people out of poverty.

“To pull them out of poverty, they need a job, that will pay at least N25,000 a month, (above $1.90 a day).

READ: Greek Debt Crisis and the sudden rise in Nigerian Stock Market All Share Index!!

Obi added that he went on a tour in 2008 to study how Bangladesh implemented policies that lifted its HDI and per capita income.

“In 2008, I was in Bangladesh with a former minister for one week, studying the issue of poverty in the rural areas, and we saw what they are doing to pull people out of poverty.

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“It is not government-driven. When it’s government-led it becomes transactional. Micro Credit Banks were meant to be domiciled in rural communities that can identify the poor. The policy was driven by an organization that was set up by the communities.

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“The farming villages in Bangladesh had farming clubs where the government buys what they produce for export. They are given a small cash grant and a school for the kids. Bangladeshi literacy rate was 58%, today it’s 75%. Today HDI is at medium from low.

He disclosed that within the same period,  in 2008, Nigeria’s per capita was $2,240, and today it $2220.

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“We lost $20 in 12 years, literacy rate and HDI was low and still low today because no articulated policy that people can measure.

“Pulling people out of poverty is not rocket science, it is done in some countries, he said.

READ: COVID-19 could impoverish additional 5 million Nigerians – World Bank  

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Redistributing wealth in Nigeria 

Mr. Obi said that the aid of Microfinance banks would make it more efficient in lending money to the poor because they will lend it to those who need it and have the capacity to pay back.

He adds that even if the FG wants to distribute it away, the MFBs have facilities that are more efficient and would do it better than the way the government is doing it.

“How we distribute welfare today is transactional and all about politics. We have not measured those that were given N10k (traderMoni),” he added.

What you should know 

  • Recall Nairametrics reported that the Federal Government launched the COVID-19 Rapid Response Register (RRR), an emergency intervention database, for the urban poor made poorer by the pandemic.
  • The scheme would see the FG share N5000 monthly to households as it says a million households would benefit from the scheme.
  • In 2020, According to the Nigerian Living Standards Survey (NLSS) report, the number of Nigerians that are poor have been estimated to be 82.9 million, making it 40.1% of Nigerians classified as poor by national standards.
  • According to NBS, on average, 4 out of 10 individuals in Nigeria have real per capita expenditures below N137,430 per year, which translates to N376.5 per day.

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Economy & Politics

Senate endorses ex-Service Chiefs as Non-career Ambassadors

The Senate has confirmed President Buhari’s nomination of the immediate past service chiefs as non-career ambassadors.

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The Nigerian Senate has endorsed the nomination of the past serving Military Service Chiefs as Non-career Ambassadors.

This was confirmed during Tuesday’s plenary session and announced in a social media statement by the Nigerian Senate.

Their confirmation follows the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Chaired by Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa.

According to reports, the Senate Minority Leader Enyinaya Abaribe, however, questioned the nomination and confirmation of the ex-service chiefs when the Senate had on 3 different occasions called for their sack.

Senator Abaribe also raised issues on the petitions against the former service chiefs and questioned why they were dismissed without explanations.

But Senate President Ahmad Lawan dismissed Senator Abaribe’s concerns, ruling that the nomination of the former service chiefs cannot be nullified simply because the upper chamber had called for their sack, noting that this is totally a different assignment.

In his concluding statement, the Senate President, Senator Lawan added that these nominees that have just been confirmed have served this country to the best of their abilities. He appealed to the executive to make sure they use their experience as military men to the best.

“These nominees that we have just confirmed are nominees that have served this country to the best of their ability. Our appeal to the Executive is to make sure they use their experiences as military men to the best,” Lawan said.

Lawan, on behalf of the senate, wished them a very successful career in their capacity as Non-Career Ambassadors.

What you should know 

  • Recall Nairametrics reported earlier this month that President Muhammadu Buhari nominated ex-Service Chiefs for Senate approval as non-career Ambassadors-Designate.
  • Their appointment came barely a week after their retirement as service chiefs and their replacement with new ones.
  • This led to a spate of criticisms from some Nigerians who felt that the nation’s security situation got worse under their watch.
  • They were reported to have tendered their resignation from their positions amid heightened calls that they should be sacked due to the increasing rate of insecurity across the country.

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Economy & Politics

2020 budget performance: FG achieves 89% capital release in December 2020

The Minister of Finance has revealed that the FG achieved 89% release of the capital component of the 2020 budget to MDAs as of December 2020.

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The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has revealed that the Federal Government achieved 89% release of the capital component of the 2020 budget to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as of December 2020.

She said that the 89% capital funding for MDAs was achieved with the release of N1.74 trillion.

According to a report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), this disclosure was made by Ahmed at an interactive session with the leadership of the National Assembly on Monday, February 22, 2021.

She also revealed that the government had disbursed N118.37 billion for Covid-19 capital expenditure from the fund.

READ: Recession: Senate attributes recovery to it’s cordial relationship with Executive

What the Minister for Finance is saying

Ahmed said the Nigerian economy faced serious challenges in 2020, with the macroeconomic environment significantly disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

She said this led to a 65% drop in projected net 2020 government revenues from the oil and gas sector, which adversely affected foreign exchange inflows into the economy.

On the delayed release of funds to implement the 2020 capital budget until March 31, the Minister said the complaint had decreased.

She said, “I think the complaint was earlier in the year when we were trying to transfer the balances. As far as I know, in the past three weeks, I haven’t heard any such complaints and we have been able to address them.

“But when we started the transfers, we couldn’t transfer to some agencies because of some limitations in the system, but we have since been able to transfer the capital component that is being utilised by the agencies budget to the system.

READ: Nigeria receives $9.68 billion capital inflows in 2020, lowest in 4 years

While pointing out that the implementation of the MDAs projects was tied to procurement processes and capacity of the MDA, Ahmed also said the extension of the 2020 capital budget implementation to March 31 had recorded 30% performance as at January.

However, Ahmed said that she expected that the extension would record 100% performance in March.

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Speaking during the interaction, the Senate’s Chief Whip, Senator Orji-Uzor Kalu, commended the Minister on the capital performance of the 2020 budget.

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READ: FG to reopen Kano and Port Harcourt airports for international flights

He said, “I want to commend the minister and her team because this is the first time in the history of Nigeria that by December 31, we are having 89% performance expenditure of the budget. It has never happened before; Last year was the very first.

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“The budget had been going 49%, 27%; this means from what the Senate President was asking, it means by March, we should be looking at implementing the budget 100%.’

Earlier, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan said the meeting was to get an update on the capital implementation of the 2020 budget given its extension for implementation by the national assembly to March 31.

What this means

  • The 89% capital release for the 2020 budget as of December 2020 is quite encouraging as it occurred despite the economic challenges and disruption caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • There seems to be an improved effort by the Federal Government at the budgeting process with the early passage of the 2021 budget and the implementation of the capital component of the 2020 budget.

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