In a bold and ambitious move, Nigeria’s President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has pledged to eradicate poverty in the west African country. This comes at a time when Nigeria has overtaken India as the country with the highest number of people living in extreme poverty.
With a population of over 200 million, the task at hand may seem insurmountable, but President Tinubu remains steadfast in his commitment to uplift the lives of 133 million Nigerians who are currently living in poverty.
President Tinubu’s administration recognizes that poverty is not a hereditary trait, but rather a consequence of the society in which people live. As the leader of the nation, he acknowledges that the government plays a crucial role in creating an environment that either perpetuates or eradicates poverty. With this understanding, President Tinubu urges his fellow politicians to put aside partisan politics and come together for the greater good of the Nigerian people.
The statistics surrounding poverty in Nigeria are staggering. In 2018, Nigeria surpassed India as the country with the highest number of poor people. A projection from the World Bank shows that 13 million more Nigerians will fall into poverty by 2025 if nothing is done to address the issue. Additionally, a study by the Brookings Institution reveals that by 2030, the majority of the world’s poor will reside in fragile states, with Nigeria ranking high on this list.
President Tinubu’s plan to eradicate poverty involves a multi-faceted approach. He aims to tackle the issue from various angles, including job creation, access to quality education, healthcare, and infrastructure development. By addressing these key areas, President Tinubu believes that it is possible to create opportunities for Nigerians to improve their socioeconomic status and break free from the chains of poverty.
Job creation is an essential aspect of President Tinubu’s poverty eradication plan. Unemployment rates in Nigeria have reached alarming levels, with over 20% of the population being jobless. The president recognizes that by creating a conducive environment for businesses to thrive, more job opportunities will become available to Nigerians. This includes implementing policies that attract both local and foreign investments, encouraging entrepreneurship, and providing support to small and medium-sized enterprises.
Access to quality education is another crucial component of President Tinubu’s poverty eradication strategy. Education is the key to unlocking opportunities and empowering individuals to rise above their circumstances. Recognizing this, the president intends to invest heavily in the education sector, ensuring that every child has access to quality education, regardless of their socioeconomic background. By equipping future generations with the necessary skills and knowledge, Nigeria can break the cycle of poverty and pave the way for a brighter future.
Healthcare is also a priority for President Tinubu. Access to proper healthcare services is a fundamental right that should not be reserved only for the privileged few. The president aims to improve healthcare infrastructure across the country, ensuring that every Nigerian has access to quality healthcare. This includes building and equipping hospitals, training medical professionals, and implementing health programs that target prevalent diseases and conditions.
Infrastructure development is the foundation for economic growth and development. President Tinubu recognizes the need to improve basic infrastructure such as roads, electricity, and clean water supply. By investing in infrastructure, he aims to attract more investment, create jobs, and improve the overall quality of life for Nigerians.
According to the data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in 2022, findings from the multi-dimensional index reveal a distressing reality: 63 percent of Nigeria’s population, equivalent to a staggering 133 million individuals, live in abject poverty. Among them, 86 million reside in the northern region while 47 million struggle in the south.
This harrowing statistic paints a grim picture of a nation that paradoxically boasts immense crude oil reserves and ranks as one of the world’s top producers. Despite Nigeria’s abundant human and material resources, concerted efforts to uplift its citizens from poverty have fallen short.
As a signatory to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Nigeria bears an international obligation to address its poverty crisis. The SDGs encompass seventeen global development goals aimed at fostering progress and improving livelihoods worldwide.
Furthermore, President Bola Tinubu recently announced his administration’s commitment to supporting the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector with a substantial investment of N125 billion. This measure is part of a broader strategy designed to mitigate the impacts resulting from the removal of petrol subsidies.
During a national broadcast, President Tinubu underscored his government’s vigilant monitoring of fuel prices vis-à-vis exchange rate fluctuations and inflationary pressures. Solemnly pledging intervention whenever necessary, he affirmed their dedication to alleviating hardships faced by Nigerian citizens.
Despite numerous efforts and resources dedicated to poverty alleviation in Nigeria, the issue persists. Widespread corruption and lack of government sincerity have hindered progress in tackling this problem.
To address these challenges and stimulate economic growth, a group of partners in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector, supported by the office of the vice president, Sen. Kashim Shettima, is launching various MSME-focused interventions. This initiative aims to benefit 1.3 million individuals across 17 States and FCT.
It’s important to note that while similar plans have been announced in the past, poor project execution has been a recurring issue for the Nigerian government. Several institutions were established with the intention of addressing poverty, such as the Nigerian Industrial Development Bank (1964), National Accelerated Food Production Project (1972), Nigerian Agriculture Cooperative Bank (1973), Operation Feed the Nation (1965), National Directorate of Employment (1986), Directorate of Food, Road and Rural Infrastructure (1986), Better Life Programme for Rural Women (1987), and People’s Bank of Nigeria (1989). However, their impact has been limited due to inefficiencies within the system.
Despite these challenges, Nigerians remain hopeful and are committed to finding solutions. The new MSME-focused interventions represent another opportunity to make a positive change in reducing poverty levels.
Over the past two decades, Nigeria has implemented several poverty reduction programs, such as the Poverty Alleviation Programme (2000), National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP 2001), Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN 2003), National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS 2004), Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P 2012), Youth Entrepreneurship Support Programme (YES-P), and finally, the National Social Investment programme (NSIP) in 2016 under President Muhammad’s administration.
Research has shown that these previous interventions failed due to various factors, including institutionalised corruption, a lack of well-structured methodologies for identifying target beneficiaries, absence of an accurate and reliable national database, and insufficient political will from administrations and responsible ministries.
To address this complex issue effectively and create lasting change, it is imperative for the government to develop a comprehensive national plan that extends beyond a single administration. This plan must prioritise tackling institutionalised corruption as a crucial step towards ending poverty and reversing any negative forecasts.