Post Views: 591 Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday in Lagos said the Federal Government, under President Muhammadu Buhari is doing much more to ...
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday in Lagos said the Federal Government, under President Muhammadu Buhari is doing much more to take more Nigerians out of the cycle of poverty, despite a significant drop in oil revenue over the past three years.
Addressing a townhall meeting in Bariga/Somolu Local Community Development Area (LCDA), to felicitate with Lagosians as part of the Eid-el-Kabir celebrations, earned $94bn in three years, representing 23.91% of the $393bn earned by the preceding administration from oil within the same period.
A statement by Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, on Wednesday quoted Osinbajo as saying that easons for the difference are very straightforward, because “the price of oil was about half of what it used to be.”
With the same $94bn however, he said the administration has “been able to do far more” than the preceding administration, including completion of more infrastructure projects, thereby achieving more with less funds.
This was achieved, he continued, because of President Buhari’s honesty and the seriousness of the administration to improve the country’s fortunes.
According to him, “when we got into office, 24 states had not paid salaries for over six months and we ensured that these salaries were paid. And President Buhari said then, “Look, I have been a salary earner all my life, I have never done any business; the only thing I ever done is government work, either as a soldier or in government. I cannot imagine how anybody can go to sleep as a governor without paying the salaries of his workers.” So, we made sure that we paid salaries and we have done so many other things.
“In investments, look at the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway; for almost 12 years, with all that money, it was never done. Now we have set about and we are doing it, we will complete it. Also, the Lagos-Kano railway project, so many of us know that we are moving towards Ibadan now. And we are going to complete it.
Meanwhile, he stressed that as part of impacting lives and bringing more citizens out of poverty, the administration fashioned its Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), “a micro-credit scheme for market women and others. We are doing one now for petty traders that is called TraderMoni.
“We have done it in Lagos we are going to do at least 100,000 in Lagos and two million across the country. The traders here in Bariga must benefit from it. We also have the one for people far bigger than that which is called GEEP.
“I want to emphasize that everything we are doing, our focus, first of all, is to ensure that people are taken out of poverty. Our country is a very big; over 200 million people, many young people coming out every day. Aside from that, we also want to ensure that anybody who is doing anything at all, who is trading, artisans, mechanics; we are able to support them.”
The reason why the administration is able to touch more lives, he assured the gathering, is that unlike in the past when government budget focused on the middle-class- “those who have industries and manufacturing plants, and those kinds of people. But the majority are at a very low level, doing little things. Those are the people that we must first of all (focus on), so that the poorest are able to do better. If the poorest do better, it would be better for all of us.”
Osinbajo, who used the opportunity to call for unity among Nigerians, assured that the Buhari administration will continue to focus on the common man and the need to take more Nigerians out of poverty through its National Social Investment Programmes (N-SIP).
“The President focus has always been on the common man. So, when we came, we decided on a few things to tackle youth unemployment. First, the N-Power programme to engage as many young people who are graduates as possible. We started with 200,000, and just this month, we have employed another 300,000. So, in our N-Power programme, we have 500,000 young graduates who are employed in the programme. Now every local government in Nigeria has N-Power graduate.”
The Vice President further assured that the Buhari administration will continue to support petty traders and small businesses to ensure that more Nigerians are taken out of poverty.