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Nigerian govt admits wide-spread poverty, says it can’t be tackled overnight



In light of the disturbing poverty level in the country, the Nigerian government on Tuesday explained why most Nigerians are still multidimensionally poor despite efforts by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

Following the damning NBS survey pegging the number of poor Nigerians to 133 million, Nigerians had raised serious concerns over the efficacy of the policies of the present adminstration.

The concerns were justifiable because one of the key campaign promises of President Muhammadu Buhari when coming into office in 2015 was to take a large number of Nigerians out of poverty.

Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, who fielded questions at the presentation of the scorecard of the administration in the area of trade and investments, said President Buhari met widespread poverty when he assumed office in 2015.

Adebayo insisted that fighting poverty in the country requires some strong economic policies and programmes to make the necessary impact.

The minister also noted that despite efforts so far by the government to address the trend, Nigerians gripped by poverty will be gradually taken out of it.

Adebayo said: “With regards to that question of 133 million being multidimensionally poor despite President Buhari’s promise to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty, I want to say that Rome was not built in a day.

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“This is because as we all know, President Buhari came and identified a very serious problem and has tried to find a solution to it. This administration has started finding a solution to the poverty level it met on the ground. We are growing higher GDP more than even some advanced economies of the world.

“So, this administration is working in the right direction in terms of good policies and programmes it has put in place. We believe strongly that with the expected growth will come employment that will take more and more Nigerians out of poverty as promised by Mr. President”.

On the development and export of non-oil products, the minister claimed the present adminstration had made tremendous progress.

“We are doing very well especially in agricultural products. For instance, ginger and sesame were our largest-selling non-oil export followed by ginger. These are products that very popular especially in Europe. Another product that has overtaken the two of them now, is urea fertilizer which has become the largest selling non-oil product internationally.

“However, we continue to try to market more of our products ready and available in the international market despite many challenges. For instance, Nigeria was the largest exporter of hibiscus to Mexico because they use it in their pharmaceuticals and for drinks.

“But because we had quality issue, they stopped importing from Nigeria. This was why we reviewed our standards to improve the quality of our export products to meet international standards. We are doing very well in this regards, which is why there is an increase in the level of our non-oil exports.”

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