President Muhammadu Buhari has taken a swipe at foreign aid agencies saying the millions of naira they claimed to have spent on internally displaced persons have rarely had an impact.

The president who spoke when meeting with the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC) said nothing would be seen when an on-site visit to the camp is done.

President Buhari also said the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and other organizations give wrong data about Nigeria to the public as he urged the economic advisory council to focus on data collection.

He said, “As you develop your baseline study, I would like you to focus on primary data collection.

“Today, most of the statistics quoted about Nigeria are developed abroad by the World Bank, IMF and other foreign bodies. Some of the statistics we get relating to Nigeria are wild estimates and bear little relation to the facts on the ground. This is disturbing as it implies we are not fully aware of what is happening in our own country.

“We can only plan realistically when we have reliable data. As you are aware, as a government, we prioritized agriculture as a critical sector to create jobs and bring prosperity to our rural communities.

“Our programmes covered the entire agricultural value chain from seed to fertilizer to grains and ultimately, our dishes. As you travel in some rural communities, you can clearly see the impact. However, the absence of reliable data is hindering our ability to upgrade these programmes and assure their sustainability.”

The president, while speaking on Social Investment Programmes (SIPs), directed the new Minister for Humanitarian Affairs to commence a comprehensive data-gathering exercise in all Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in the North East.

Buhari added, “Today, we hear international organizations claiming to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on IDPs in the North East. But when you visit the camps, you rarely see the impact.

“In 2017, when the National Emergency Management Agency took over the feeding of some IDPs in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, the amount we spent was significantly lower than the claims made by these international organizations.

“Therefore, actionable data is critical to implement effective strategies to address pressing problems such as these humanitarian issues. I, therefore, look forward to receiving your baseline study as this will help us shape ideas for a sustainable and prosperous future.” 

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