The Nigerian Government has dismissed a report that it has overtaken India on the global poverty index.
Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah, said the indices used for the report might have been compiled when Nigeria was in recession.
The Minister was speaking after the cabinet meeting, which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said with the present administration’s infrastructural programmes and the enabling environment for businesses, poverty would naturally disappear in Nigeria.
According to him, “I think first, we need to understand when we get these reports that there are reports that are lagging in indicators which means, people are reporting on history. There are reports that are leading indicators which means that they are forward looking and of course, there reports that capture generally what you do which is current. They are actually dealing with what is current. So, when you get reports from Brooking institute or all sorts of people, you need to look at the context. Somebody may have written a report when we were in recession.
“Remember that if you are in a recession, what it means is that even though, your population is growing, people don’t stop procreating, your growth fact, which means that in theory depending on how they run those numbers, you will be going the other way. There is absolutely no question that there an urgency to create employment in Nigeria. And it has to be a collective responsibility. What I can tell you with certainty based on ones background in business and economics, is that if we complete the things on infrastructure and you implement these reports we are doing, that is what I mean by a leading indicator, poverty will go down. There is no magic to it. But you have to do it first, you have put in the infrastructure, you have to implement the economic programme which is what will create the opportunities, they don’t drop from the sky.
“So, I think we should roll up our sleeves as a people and do the work because, if we don’t do it, our people continue to bear children obviously, they would get poorer. So, I don’t think we should kill ourselves that poverty is something just happen. I think it comes out of the urgent need we have as a country which is why we are focusing as a government to make sure that we create the enabling environment, the infrastructure that are required to create opportunities for our people and I believe that will happen in the process of time.”
Free Trade Agreement
Enelamah also said Nigeria was not in a haste to sign the Continental Free Trade Agreement as the government would have to adequately deliberate on it before signing it.
Works and Power
Meanwhile, the Council approved contracts for the construction of a power transmitting station in Jos, Plateau State.
Minister of State Power, Mustapha Shehuri said the Council approved N5.9 billion for the construction of 16.7 kilometers Suleja-Chaaza-Banguru road, which spur to Rafinsayi in Niger State.
“Another memo approved is for the dualization of Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa-Bokani road in Kwara and Niger states to CGC at the cost of N130 billion. The contract’s life span is 36 months,” he said.
The Council also approved construction of Ibi-Shendam bridge across River Benue connecting Taraba and Plateau states at the cost of N57 billion.