The Federal Government is committed to take 100 million Nigerians out of extreme poverty in the next 10 years, it has been learnt.
President Muhammadu Buhari was quoted to have made the promise at a public event.
Reassuring Nigerians about the government’s commitment, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Social Investment Programmes, Ismaeel Ahmed, recalled that the President laid the foundation towards realising this objective in the last four years of his administration.
“The first four years of the President Buhari administration have been a tedious project of setting up a foundation for the journey ahead.
“That journey, on our part, is to see that we empower the less privileged, the poorest Nigerians, the unemployed, and give them the opportunity to lift themselves out of their predicament and empower them for self-development and fulfillment.
“The President is committed to this project, and thus has set a mandate of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of extreme poverty within the next 10 years.
“It may sound too ambitious to some people, or perhaps even outlandish, but with the renewed focus and commitment I have seen from the President, this is a feat that can be achieved, and we must ensure that we roll up our sleeves to do just that,” Ismaeel said.
On how the government would achieve the task, Ismaeel said: “We have set targets for ourselves. We are going to up the numbers by reaching more communities, reaching more people who are within our purview. Each of the clusters of the Social Investment Programmes has a target of the number of beneficiaries it must reach within a period of time, given the availability of resources. We are going to make sure that we do not falter, slow down, relax or give up. We are determined.
“Also, we are going to ensure that we improve on our monitoring activities. This would ensure that we take stock of where we are and what we are doing at every point. If we see that we are not measuring up to targets, then we know that we need to scale up,” he added.
The presidential aide described the goal as serious, adding that it must be taken serious.
Ismaeel said the President’s goal would be taken with the utmost regard and consciousness. The presidential aide stressed that the Social Investment Programmes had made tremendous impact, while it is the largest social investment ever seen in Nigeria and other West African countries.
“The programmes have reached over 40 million beneficiaries so far. That is both direct and indirect beneficiaries. Over 12 million are direct beneficiaries. These are real people whose lives are being changed and transformed for the better.
“Whenever I meet a beneficiary and he or she tells me their story, I am driven to do more. And I believe that if we have done this much with little resources, we can do more with committed leadership and steady, strategic and precise targets.
“I have a reason to believe that poverty should not be a permanent feature or an affliction that must remain with us. The goal set out by the President on lifting 100 million people out of extreme poverty is a task I am personally committed and dedicated to,” he noted.
Ismaeel explained that the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development created by President Buhari would play a critical role in the fight against poverty.