Inside Abuja

In search of poverty eradication strategy

The Federal Government is worried about the widespread poverty ravaging the population across Nigeria and has begun the search for a unified strategy to arrest the situation. DEBORAH OCHENI reports

 

A virtual extraordinary meeting of the Forum of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Secretaries to State Governments was convened recently to discuss on poverty in the country.

 

The meeting themed: “Strengthening National Poverty Eradication Stategies and Policies” was targeted at effectively coordinating poverty eradication programs in Nigeria using a single document in all the states of the federation.

 

Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, who initiated the meeting, called for a working partnership between state governments and the ministry to stamp out poverty in the country In her presentation, Farouq emphasized that poverty remained a major challenge to the populace, hence the need to coordinate and synchronize all programmes aimed at eradicating poverty in Nigeria.

“A careful evaluation of all major programmes and projects of government since independence on poverty reduction, alleviation and eradication showed that there is a need to harmonise and rationalise intervention strategies and their implementation which will lead to an environment where all programmes are centrally coordinated and monitored with a view to making the overall impacts transparently felt by all Nigerians.

 

Though many actions were taken to address this in the past, the 2018/2019 Poverty and Inequality data in Nigeria, as released by the National Bureau of Statistics shows that the range of poverty headcount is between a high of 87.3 per cent in Sokoto State to a low of 4.5 per cent in Lagos, with a National average of 40.2 per cent.

 

“This alarming situation and the strategic need to address it is the primary reason why the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari established the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to provide National Coordination, strategies and policies for intervention.

 

“To ensure that these activities are well harmonised, it is imperative to intensify consultations to acquire the desired partnerships and coordination to succeed. This reality and indeed the key stake held by the state governments in this process is the main reason why I requested the SGF to kindly avail us this platform to consolidate our partnerships and cooperation.

 

 

Therefore, in order for us to succeed in attaining this vision, securing a    partnership between the Ministry and the various state governments is paramount.

 

This meeting today therefore is the first but significant step in cementing this inter-governmental synergy for the benefit of vulnerable people in our country”. Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, emphasized the need for a well-coordinated national, rather than disparate states and Federal programmes aimed at addressing poverty.

 

Mustapha called on all the Secretaries to the State Governments to set up effective machinery for state level coordination and federal level interface with the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development. He described the current approach of dealing with poverty by the different tiers of government as haphazard and unacceptable.

 

According to him, the poverty situation is not abating in spite of the various efforts of government at all levels because of using the wrong method. “Ineffective coordination between and within various levels of government have been long implicated as a reason for a not too visible performance.

 

It is therefore, necessary to fill gaps,  block leakages, remove overlaps and increase collaboration and partnerships between the Federal and State Governments through the office of SSGs, so that we have a real national effort at tackling poverty in the country,” he said.

Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, called for the full integration of women, children and youths in poverty reduction programmes and pledged her commitment to supporting the coordination efforts.

Using the agricultural sector as a key driver of poverty eradication efforts in the country, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Mohammed Sabo Nanono, solicited a three-tiered collaborative policy implementation through state, multi-MDA and community levels to unlock greater opportunities for agripreneurs across all levels.

One of the major resolutions of the forum was the need for the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs to anchor collaborative efforts across Federal level Ministries, Extra-Ministerial Departments and Agencies, States and Local Governments, Development Partners, Civil Society Organisations and the Private  Sector to harmonise efforts and ensure cost effectiveness and efficiency.

 

It was also resolved that all Secretaries to the State Governments should strengthen existing coordination mechanisms and where absent, set one up to ensure effective coordination and synchronization at the state level, harmonization and complementarity between and within Ministries and agencies as well as appropriate interface with the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

 

The meeting had 60 virtual participants, including Mr Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation; Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq; Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Mohammed Sabo Nanono; Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen; the Statistician General of the Federation, Dr. Yemi Kale; Chairman Dr. Doyin Salami, members of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC) as well as Secretaries to State Governments from 22 States and Permanent Secretaries

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