President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed fear of the Coronavirus pandemic making more people poorer.
Speaking in a recorded video message to a virtual high-level UN meeting on trends, options and strategies in poverty eradication across the world, President Buhari apprised the UN meeting on steps to revive the nation’s economy in the wake of the pandemic and also warned that COVID-19 pandemic risks reversing decades of progress achieved in the efforts to eradicate poverty globally.
President Buhari said;
“It is my conviction that devoting our efforts towards human capital development, efficient management of our resources, greater financial inclusion and transformation of the agricultural sector to ensure food security are crucial to poverty eradication.
”In this regard, Nigeria continues to strengthen its existing social safety net initiative by increasing access to enrolees who fit the various programmes in the scheme.
”Nigeria will also continue to provide easier and increased access to financial services for micro and small-scale businesses through the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme. But we are determined to do more.
”Nigeria holds the view that education is a critical driver of sustainable development and has an immense capacity to eradicate poverty.
”Educating our children, especially the girl-child, contributes significantly to the fight against poverty, environmental sustainability, and improved health, as well as building peace and resilient societies.”
In the statement released by President Buhari’s media aide Femi Adesina on Wednesday July 1, it was also gathered that the Nigerian leader expressed concern that more than 700 million people or 10% of the world’s population are classified as living in extreme poverty.
He also noted that in Nigeria as in many other countries, the domestic supply chains and trading corridors have come under enormous strain, bringing to fore the health versus economics debate.
‘‘All the while they struggle with the most basic needs like nutrition, shelter, health, education and access to clean water and sanitation.
‘‘In this condition, the number of poor people is estimated to triple as livelihoods across almost all economic sectors have been adversely affected.”
He also disclosed at the meeting that with a population of about 200 million; a large percentage of Nigerians live in various stages of poverty. According to him, the prospect of the population sliding further into extreme poverty is real and his government is also striving to combat and reverse the trend.