High poverty: Experts back World Bank, fault Buhari, agency compiles list

High poverty: Experts back World Bank, fault Buhari, agency compiles list -  Punch Newspapers

The Federal Government on Wednesday said it was compiling a list of Nigerians lifted out of poverty by the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari  (retd.).

The National Coordinator of the National Social Investment Programme,  Umar Bindir, who gave this indication in an interview with one of our correspondents in Abuja, stated that the agency would soon begin an assessment of the programme to know those it had lifted out of poverty.

Bindir said this as economic experts, in separate interviews with The NewsMen, faulted government on the number of people it had lifted out of poverty.

They also warned that increasing poverty in the country would worsen insecurity.

In his speech on Saturday to mark the June 12 Democracy Day, Buhari said 10.5 million people, including farmers, small-scale traders, artisans and market women had been lifted out of poverty by his regime.

But three days after Buhari made the statement, the World Bank on Tuesday stated that rising prices of goods had pushed seven million Nigerians into poverty.

The World Bank made the statement as the National Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday said inflations dropped by 0.19 per cent in  May,  despite the public outcry about the high cost of basic items such as food and drugs.

But on Wednesday,  the Federal Government said the NSIP had had positive impacts on its beneficiaries.

The National Coordinator of the NSIP, Bindir, told one of our correspondents that the agency had started compiling names of citizens lifted out of poverty through the scheme.

The NSIP, which was established by the Federal Government in 2016, is aimed at tackling poverty and hunger across the country.

Its components include the Conditional Cash Transfer which supports people within the lowest poverty bracket by improving nutrition, increasing household consumption and supporting the development of human capital.

Bindir told The Newsmen correspondent, “Your request has to do with the impact assessment reports. But first of all, we have to deliver. In the development work, you don’t just lift somebody out of poverty just because you have given him N30,000 monthly for six months or more.

“It depends on the person too. If somebody is not prepared, he goes to school and doesn’t read or ginger himself or spend time to upgrade himself, there’s no way you can lift that kind of person out of poverty. And there are many in this category. We just take our chances.

“But for the impact assessment report, as we speak, we are engaging independent monitors to actually go with tablets to capture exactly what you are asking for.

“Every single individual, who has benefitted from the NSIP, whether a child in the school down to the people who are attached to one form of work or the other (will be captured).

“We will find them, talk to them, get their opinions and see what they are doing and then provide a detailed report that will come out to say that yes, 10 out of 1,000, for instance, are out of poverty, or none is out of poverty, or all are out of poverty.”

Asked when the assessment report would be released, Bindir stated that the monitors were assigned the task this month and that their first report should be out in three months time.

He said, “The independent monitors are hired for one year, but every three months they will submit the report. So they are now going to start in June and by July, August, September we will expect a report in our office, to see exactly the impact of these programmes on Nigerians.

“But when you go to the school feeding programme, the objective is to attract children to come to schools and we call that increase in enrolments. And I can authoritatively tell you that enrolments since 2016 have actually increased in most of the schools.”

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