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.
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).
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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
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.