Inauguration Of National Steering Committee Of The National Poverty Reduction & Growth Strategy
REMARKS OF HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, AT THE INAUGURATION OF THE NATIONAL STEERING COMMITTEE OF THE NATIONAL POVERTY REDUCTION AND GROWTH STRATEGY ON JUNE 22, 2021.
On behalf of my colleagues in the National Steering Committee, of the National Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy, I would like to express my profound appreciation to Your Excellency for the honour of our nomination to serve. We do not take for granted the confidence reposed in us and we sincerely appreciate the opportunity to serve on this all important national assignment.
Mr. President, in your June 12 2019 address, you made the now famous declaration that it must be the objective of both the Federal and State governments to lift 100 million of our people out of poverty within a ten-year period.
Thereafter you directed that each Ministers’ mandate must contain a deliverable on ensuring that every project and programme yields jobs to support the 100-million target. This is the logical culmination of this administration’s transformative commitment to improving the lives of Nigerians, as previously expressed through extant strategies, such as the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and the Economic Sustainability Plan.
We have made some progress in shielding our vulnerable citizens by instituting effective social protection programmes, such as N-Power, School Feeding, Cash Transfers and loans to small businesses. We have also navigated the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic by providing an economic stimulus in support of people, employments and businesses. The National Poverty Eradication and Growth Strategy consolidates and advances all these previous efforts.
The overall objective of this strategy is shared and inclusive prosperity. The measures that have been identified to advance this goal include a stable macroeconomic policy environment, an agenda for economic growth anchored to the modernization of agriculture, industrialization, diversification, trade as well as a range of complementary structural and institutional reforms.
However, we do recognize that while economic growth is absolutely imperative, it will not, in and of itself, bring about poverty eradication. General improvements in, and enhanced access to social and economic infrastructure will surely boost labour income by creating higher numbers of decent jobs as well as absorbing new entrants into the labour market. But to truly break the yoke of poverty, the strategy is also hinged on targeted interventions through redistributive and social protection programmes aimed at the poorest of the poor.
In this regard, the strategy is an organic and comprehensive approach to addressing the challenge of poverty. The strategic measures in respect of industrialization, economic diversification, agricultural modernization and trade will lead to greater productivity. Increased tax revenues from a more productive economy will in turn provide the fiscal resources for increased investment in the delivery of public services, infrastructure and social security programmes. Thus, this strategy – hinged on a vision of greater productivity and efficient redistribution – will result in a rising tide that lifts all boats above the poverty line.
The mechanism for implementing the strategy is as inclusive as its goal of shared prosperity. It integrates both the public and the private sectors as well as key stakeholders and leaders at the federal and subnational levels. This is in every respect, a national strategy, reflecting a commitment to securing a nationwide consensus to drive the necessary measures therein.
Nigeria has never been short of great plans. The measure of our success lies in our ability to diligently implement our ambitious strategy and the impact it has on the lives of the people – the young jobseekers for whom we must provide opportunity, the entrepreneurs who we must assist in growing their businesses at scale, the farmers whose livelihoods we must secure and the children whose dreams we must make come true.
This is a task that we will approach with the utmost rigour and dedication. As we commence our work in earnest, let me on behalf of my colleagues once again thank you, Mr. President, for the opportunity to serve.