In a practical bid to alleviate the suffering of the masses, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu, on Thursday, said her ministry will partner with a host of other ministries and private sector players to lift 50 million Nigerians out of poverty in Nigeria, as directed by President Bola Tinubu.
Describing poverty as multi-dimensional due to lack of access to education, quality healthcare services, or jobs, she assured Nigerians that her ministry is collaborating with the Ministries of Finance, Health, Education, and Agriculture, among others, to pull Nigerians out of it.
While declaring open the three-day cabinet retreat on Wednesday, November 1, President Tinubu announced that ministers will sign a performance bond with him at the end of the exercise for ministers, presidential aides, permanent secretaries and top government functionaries.
“We have the people who want to reach and an addition of all of these people together will give us a way over 50 million persons that will be directly reached by the government of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu,” Edu told State House Correspondents on the second day of the retreat at the State House Conference Center, Abuja.
She stated that the ongoing payment of N25,000 to 15 million poor households in Nigeria via the conditional cash transfer programme for the next three months, amounting to N75,000, was part of the holistic framework.
The minister explained that although the programme is meant to cushion the post-subsidy economic realities, it will contribute to lifting 61 million households out of poverty.
However, measures are being taken to ensure the funds reach the right people.
“Now, this is an immediate cushioning of the economic shock that these households are experiencing. However, we’re taking our time going through the rigorous process.
“And the reason is simple; We want to be sure that the right people get the money, we identify them, they have their NINs, they have their BVNs and they paid.
“We don’t want to rush into paying people and then you realise that they don’t even exist,” she explained.
Asked about the specifics that will ensure 50 million Nigerians are removed from poverty, Edu noted, “So we have a couple of things that have been listed out. First and foremost, as you know, there is an ongoing payment of N25,000 to poor households in Nigeria, and this is going to happen for three months, amounting to N75,000.
“This is 15 million households, which automatically amounts to about 61 million persons. Beyond this, the President is going to be creating jobs for millions of Nigerians through different methods.
“We’re providing zero-interest loans for markets, petty traders, market women, amongst other people.”
The minister also said the support net includes poor farmers through the End Hunger Project saying “We’re equally bringing on board the Good Nigeria Project, and several other projects. And each of these projects has the targeted amount of persons who we want to reach through our social safety net projects.”
Edu also stressed the importance of collaboration between her ministry and other ministries to address the multi-dimensional issue of poverty in Nigeria.
She revealed that her ministry will synergise with other ministries to address health care and quality education as a means to fight poverty.
“So we’re running as a team. It is a multi-dimensional issue that has been dealt with. Remember, it’s multi-dimensional poverty. So some people are poor because they do not have access to education.
“Some people are poor because they do not have access to quality healthcare services. Some people are poor because they do not have access to jobs.
“So it’s multi-dimensional. And we are collaborating as a ministry with the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Agriculture, amongst others, to see that we can pull Nigerians out of this multi-dimensional poverty,” she explained.
On the impact of the retreat, Edu said, “It has been very informative, especially as it concerns administration, governance, leadership, and actually managing the affairs of government at this level. For many persons, this has been very useful in setting the agenda for government.
“The President spoke very expressly yesterday (Wednesday) and he said, we’re all going to sign the bond to deliver on our targets.
“What’s most important is to see that all these foot soldiers are set to work. For us in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation…we’ve spelt out our deliverables clearly. And we’re signing on to the bond.“