Worried by the worsening poverty level in the country, the Federal Executive Council (FEC), on Wednesday, extensively debated the issue and approved a new policy strategy to tackle the menace.
Briefing correspondents after the meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja, Femi Adesina, Special Adviser (Media & Publicity) to the president, said the council took note of the worrying situation.
According to him, the federal government was not unaware of the poverty level but was doing something about it.
He said it was in that line that FEC approved the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy (NPRGS).
Adesina said Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is to chair the Steering Committee of the new policy to provide overall guidance for implementation.
He said the council also approved the strategy’s incorporation into the medium-term national development plan 2021-2025 and agenda 2050 and directed the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami to prepare a bill for submission to National Assembly to make the implementation of the strategy sustainable.
Adesina said: “The Federal Executive Council meeting got concluded, some few minutes back. We have here to brief us on some of the conclusions the ministers for Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, the Minister State for Petroleum Resources and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
“Before we hear from them let me just apprise us with a conclusion on a draft policy on National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy that was also approved by the Federal Executive Council.
“The Presidential Economic Advisory Council had some weeks back submitted the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy to the Federal Executive Council, and it was widely debated today, and eventually passed as a conclusion.
“And these are some of the things, the Federal Executive Council noted the worsening poverty situation in the country and the efforts of the federal government to redress that situation.
“It’s not as if the government is not aware that there is poverty in the land but things are been done.
“One of it is this National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy that was presented today.
“The Council also noted that the President applied to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years. Actually, by June 12 this year, that promise will be two years old It was noted that it is a work in progress, and it is work that will get done.
“The council noted that the President has directed the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, and the chairman Presidential Economic Advisory Council on the need to come up with a sustainable Poverty Reduction Strategy. And that strategy is what is already codified in this volume and it was widely discussed and passed.
“The council noted the contributions of stakeholders, comments and observations made by FEC members on this volume and the presentation of the NPRGS has been duly incorporated into the strategy.
“They also noted the final articulation of a two-volume, National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy, and its major pillars.
“The strategy is encapsulated in these two volumes, which you may need to get familiar with the contents of the strategy.
“A national steering committee, chaired by the Vice President is to provide overall guidance for the implementation of this strategy in these two volumes.
“The Council approved the implementation of the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy. It approved the incorporation of the strategy into the medium-term national development plan 2021 to 2025 and agenda 2050 and directed the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to prepare a bill for submission to the National Assembly to make the implementation of the national Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy sustainable.
“So that’s one of the major major highlights of the meeting today. National poverty reduction with growth strategy.”
Also speaking at the briefing, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouk, regretted the incessant attacks on the camps of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
Speaking against the background of the attack by suspected herdsmen on the Abagana IDP camp in Benue state, which led to the death of seven persons, he called for the beefing up of security around them.
She said that her ministry was working assiduously to alleviate the suffering of the IDPs and facilitate their return to their homes.
Farouk stated: “Really a very sad development and I’m sure the security agencies are on top of it. What I can say is that there should be enhanced security around these areas where we have these incessant attacks.
“For us in the ministry, we do our best to see that these displaced people are being supported and catered for while we work towards returning them back to their communities.”
On his part, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, announced that FEC approved a facility maintenance contract for the Nigerian Content House, Yenegoa at the cost of N2.1billion.
The contract was awarded to Messrs Megastar Nigeria Ltd.
Sylvia stated the other memo approved for his ministry was for the operations and maintenance of a 10 megawatts power plant also in Yenagoa.
“Council also graciously approved the operations and maintenance contract for the sum of N712 million for two years. All the contract that was presented today before Council were for an initial period of two years,” he said.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama said FEC adopted a National Diaspora Policy engineered by the Nigerian Diaspora Commission led by Abike Dabiri.
He explained: “This policy really is aimed at formalising and giving a structure to the relationship between the country and government and the Nigerians in the diaspora, of which, you know, the 17 or more million Nigerians in the diaspora, and they constitute a very, very important part of the Nigerian community.
“This policy aims to promote national development through engagement, constructive engagement with the Nigerians in the diaspora.
“In fact, for them to be really an integral part of the march towards greater development, and utilising all these skills and all the resources that they have.”