President Muhammadu Buhari has reaffirmed the resolve of his administration to realise its plan to lift 100m Nigerians out of poverty, stating that it was conceived out of deliberate intents.
The President made the reaffirmation on Tuesday during a meeting with the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC) at the State House in Abuja.
According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the President said the project “did not come by accident or ‘something we just bumped into’, but a deliberate one that will be pursued with remarkable grit and determination”.
Speaking at the meeting, which was attended by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Buhari agreed with the Council that the country required a poverty reduction strategy that will usher in a “rapid, sustained, sustainable and inclusive economic growth”.
In a short speech after the presentation of the report on national poverty reduction strategy developed by the PEAC, Buhari requested the PEAC to present the document to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday as part of the consultation process.
He also agreed with the Council the ambitious program of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty is a challenging one but one that can be achieved.
The President wondered what became of the nation in the past, “with all the resources available to it” that no such coordinated, holistic agenda on poverty reduction was ever contemplated.
“I was shocked, hearing from you that, of the vast agricultural land resources available to the nation, only two percent of it is under irrigation, promising that “we will make the best use of the land. Thank you for shaking us up. We are now woken; we will not doze off again. We didn’t just bump into this, we believe it is something we can deliver on.”
After listening to the PEAC Chairman, Professor Doyin Salami, who led the presentation, Buhari cleared the way for Ministers to be briefed on the implementation plan at the FEC meeting on Wednesday, 24th February 2021.
The plan, which Professor Salami said had so far gained an overwhelming approval of stakeholders across the country, had earlier been presented to the Vice President; Secretaries to Government of all the 36 States, and the Governors at the National Economic Council (NEC); Development Partners, including the World Bank, IMF and AfDB; Civil Society Organisations (CSO) and the Organised Private Sector actors in the country.
The PEAC Chairman welcomed the country’s exit from recession but cautioned that the strength of the economic growth must be driven in a way that it will overtake population growth.