…says 7 million pupils being fed a meal daily in 22 states, 300,000 Nigerians benefit from CCT
Despite the fall in the price of crude oil, the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy, and reduced national revenue as a result, at the time it was elected in 2015, the Buhari administration has been able to put in place the largest pro-poor programme in Nigeria’s history, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.
Prof. Osinbajo said this on Thursday during the 10th Bola Ahmed Tinubu colloquium held at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.
In line with the theme of the event, ‘Investing in People’, the Vice President noted that the Buhari administration’s N500 Billion Social Investment Programme was an audacious decision because of the fall in crude oil prices when the administration was elected in 2015.
He said the Federal Government, in line with its determination to curb grand corruption, has made significant strides in improving the welfare of Nigerians and reaching millions of beneficiaries through its Social Investment Programmes.
The Vice President added that the Buhari administration was “determined to change the dominant narrative” about the country.
He said, “We were determined to ensure that the notion of a country rich in all natural resources, but even richer in human capital, but being destroyed daily by grand corruption, and the impunity in the looting of public resources; we had to change that narrative.
“We saw a nation where a few in office had so privatized the commonwealth that, while oil prices were at their highest and we were getting growth figures as high as 7%, the majority of people remained extremely poor. On one of our campaign trips in Zamfara State, Mr. President said, “Look at the eyes of this people,” and of course, we saw the poverty and desperation in their eyes. Then he said, “They expect us to fix this problem of their poverty as soon as we get into office.”
Prof. Osinbajo noted that the Buhari administration has invested heavily, not only in its Social Investment Programmes, SIPs, but also in agriculture, in line with its core objectives to improve security and the country’s economy, in particular the welfare of the people, and curb corruption.
He added that the SIPs have continued to record significant successes because the administration was determined to invest in Nigerians and so improve the economy.
The Vice President said, “So we decided on two things; one to invest heavily in Agriculture; to create jobs in the hinterlands, provide enough food locally and for all of the urban areas. In our agriculture programme, I’m sure that many would already agree that this has been a tremendous success. Several millions of Nigerians have been employed in agriculture. In fact, Mr. President tells the story of his own village where people used to lease out their farms to farmers from Kano. But now, nobody is leasing out their farms anymore. Everybody is on his own farm.
“Secondly we also decided to put in place an audacious Social Investment Programme to the tune of N500 billion, the largest pro-poor programme in our nation’s history, and the largest social safety net, at least in Sub-Saharan Africa. This was despite the fact that by 2015, oil prices fell by over 50% and our production also fell from over 2 million barrels a day to less than 700,000 barrels a day, sometimes even 500,000 barrels in 2016.
“We have seen today the empirical evidence of the successes of this programme, and all of that is evident for us to see and listen to several testimonies and stories. 200,000 jobs for graduates employed under the N-Power programme, 300,000 more waiting to be employed; they have been pre-selected; over 7 million children being fed daily in 22 States so far; beneficiaries of microcredit loans going to about 300,000; and almost 300,000 households benefiting from conditional cash transfers.”