For the first time in Nigeria's budgetary history, the federal government would be directly intervening in lifting people out of poverty through a series of measures already proposed in the 2016 budget that is now before the National Assembly.
Explaining details of the social investment plans announced by the President last week while presenting the 2016 budget, Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo said "for the first time the budget is paying attention to the problem of poverty in a proper and direct way. We have decided to address poverty and youth unemployment."
Indeed by committing an unprecedented half a trillion Naira for social investment spendings and interventions, the Buhari administration is proposing to spend about 9% of the 2016 budget to address poverty issues directly.
The Vice President spoke yesterday -late Tuesday -in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso during an interactive session at the Nigerian embassy with Nigerians resident in the west African nation, where he had gone to participate in the installation of the new democratically elected president, Mr. Roch Marc Christian Kaboré.
According to him, the Federal Government will create no fewer than one million jobs in 2016, adding that besides that, about one million extremely poor and disabled people would also benefit from the first phase of the Conditional Cash Transfer Scheme proposed in the 2016 appropriation bill "to enable them live decently."
Another approach the Buhari administration would adopt in dealing with poverty he said is to make sure that market women and artisans get affordable loans, while the homegrown school feeding programme would also commence in public primary schools in the new year.
Osinbajo said the homegrown school feeding programme would not only provide adequate nutrition to school children, it would also promote local farming, boost agriculture and create jobs and wealth locally.
The FG is getting assistance for its social investment programmes from international agencies including the World Bank, Imperial College among others.
According to the Vice President, President Muhammadu Buhari has announced job opportunities for 500,000 graduate-youths to be engaged as teachers. He disclosed that another estimated 500,000 non-graduate unemployed people will be trained as artisans. Put together, the FG will be creating about one million direct jobs.
"The country is destined for growth,’’ he said adding that the proposal of N1.8 trillion, being 30 per cent of the 2016 budget proposal, for capital projects was to improve the power, rail, and road infrastructures to engender economic growth.
"The national economy is a private-sector driven and we want to encourage the private sector through adequate provision of power,’’ he said.
Osinbajo assured Nigerians that the fight against corruption was a continuous one adding that the Buhari administration would not only prosecute those involved but also recover all the loot that had been traced.
"We will go after Nigeria’s fund wherever it is found and we will recover it,’" he said noting "our country is bound for greatness.’’
The Vice President reassured the community that President Buhari was a man to be trusted with integrity. "I am proud of our leadership and this is a great opportunity for us to be great,’’ he added.
He told the community that the military might of Boko Haram has been degraded " but you still find some suicide bombers which calls for vigilance of all Nigerian people.’’
Osinbajo observed that the people in the affect areas did not accept any form of oppression or wickedness ``that is why the communities themselves are determined to fight insurgency and we are encouraged by that spirit.’’
He reaffirmed the commitment of President Buhari to cater for the needs of Nigerians at home and abroad to make their lives comfortable and commended the resourcefulness of the Nigerian communities abroad for making good impressions in business and development of the economies where they reside.
Speaking at the event, Nigeria's Ambassador to Burkina Faso, David Bala disclosed that there are about one million Nigerians resident in the country and are mostly peaceful and law abiding people.
Also, the leader of the Nigerian Community, Mr Michael Adeyanju thanked the Federal government for attending the inauguration of the Burkinabe President, describing the gesture as a sign of a cordial relationship between both countries.
He said Nigeria was the only country that donated 20 Hilux vans to assist the electoral commission of the country in the transition adding that the gesture raised the pride of the Nigerian community.
Adeyanju expressed the community’s gratitude with the change mantra of the Buhari administration adding ``your government’s fight against corruption and insurgency is laudable and commendable, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of Boko Haram.’’
Senior Special Assistant--(Media and Publicity)
In the Office of the Vice President
December 30, 2015