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Senate considers taking fight against poverty to LGAs

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The Senate Committee on States and Local Government Administration, has expressed worry over the increasing poverty index in the country, noting that the development is putting great pressure on the political actors at the local level.

The committee and some critical stakeholders in the private sector are thus proposing an establishment of investment platforms aimed at reducing poverty especially at local government areas.

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Olalekan Mustapha disclosed this much at a local government economic summit organized by the Committee in collaboration with Civi-Pact in Abuja, with the theme, “Local Government System Resilience for Sustainable Development”.

In his address, the Senator said “the Challenges of poverty in Nigeria need an objective and collective approach,” adding that in the globalised world of today, Local governments are fundamentally empowered to attend to the basic needs of people be it economical, Social or political.

He continued “Our experiences of Nigeria Local Government system so far, shows that despite the constitutional provisions; the local government system has inherent weaknesses interms of provisions of basic needs for her people or rather in terms of creating enabling environment for socio-economic life of rural Nigerian to thrive.

“The poverty index is constantly on the increase with unimaginable pressure on the political actors at the local levels. Today in our national life, a mere construction of Culvert, rural feeder roads and other basic infrastructure has become extremely difficult for local government administrators to execute.

“The payment of salary at the local level which is the primary role of local governments existence has become a mirage toady; the old glory of local government system in Nigeria has gradually been eroded.

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“The Local government system in Nigeria has neither political freedom nor economic freedom. The Institutions has become disarticulated and thus bring about hopelessness and surge in poverty indices. In the historical development of China, rural economic activities coordinated by their municipals and provinces were the cradle of their economic development.

“If we dare to leverage on our natural resources and population and with selflessness in our national life, we will surely recreate and regenerate our socio-economic life.”

He further stated that the recent commitment of federal government to lift 100 million Nigerians from poverty in the next five years was a welcome idea, but that such intervention could be utopian or unideal without a robust local government system that can recalibrate itself to the realities of the socio- economic needs of her people.

“It is on the above premise, that multi-local cooperation among the local governments has become one of the few options to poverty reduction and economic prosperity in Nigeria.

“By having a Pool InvestmentBasket for Local Governments in Nigeria; they are going to attenuate the structure of the economy over time.

“Despite the precarious economic challenges and the unnecessary interference the constitutional duties of local governments in Nigeria; a monthly, quarterly and yearly contributions to the funds will be a great leap forward for our shared prosperity and turn the commitment to a multi-billion investment in the nearest future.

“We are looking at investment platform that is private sector driven, multilateral institutions inclined and rural economy centered without any political interferences from any quarter.”

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