President Muhammadu Buhari said on Thursday that at least five million Nigerians have been alleviated from extreme poverty since he assumed office in 2015.
The living condition of Nigerians have been a subject of debate in recent times and while addressing the impact of his administration on Nigerians since he came to power, President Buhari said his government understands the need to focus on youth empowerment for quality standard of living.
He stated these this during the opening of the Global Youth Employment Forum organised by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Abuja. He was represented at the event by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.
The President’s statement came few weeks after it was reported that Nigerians have become poorer during his administration..
According to him, the National Social Investment Programme has assisted his administration in creating two million job opportunities in the last three years, and as a result of the initiative, five million Nigerians have been lifted from extreme poverty.
It would be recalled that a United States-based publication, The Economist, had said in its May report that Nigerians are poorer under President Buhari’s administration.
The report said: “The Nigerian economy is stuck like a stranded truck. Average incomes have been falling for four years; the IMF thinks they will not rise for at least another six. The latest figures put unemployment at 23%, after growing for 15 consecutive quarters. Inflation is 11%. Some 94 million people live on less than $1.90 a day, more than in any other country, and the number is swelling. By 2030 a quarter of very poor people will be Nigerian, predicts the World Data Lab, which counts such things.”
But the Buhari administration believes it has made significant progress with the N-Power programme, and speaking on behalf of the President, Mustapha said: “We note at this point that the issue of youth unemployment has assumed a global significance, and (is) on the front burner of development discourse.
“The government of Nigeria understands the need to focus attention on youth empowerment by creating the enabling environment for job opportunities and capacity building.
“The present administration from the onset, made the investment in our people, one of the key goals of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, which is the national development blueprint from the period of 2017 to 2020.
“The implementation of the plan also has the flagship programme such as the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP).
“It has yielded some measurable outcomes in the form of increased school enrolment and the creation of more jobs.
“One of the key components of the NSIP is the N-Power programme and its sub-components has led to the creation of job opportunities in different sectors of the economy for young persons.
“For example, in the past three years, the programme has yielded over two million direct and indirect employment opportunities and has lifted over five million Nigerians out of extreme poverty.
“In addition to this achievement, some sectors of the economy with high propensity for massive job creation and employment generation were specifically targeted by the government for various forms of support.’’
The sectors in question are agriculture, solid minerals, power, works and housing, trade and investment. The support has also been extended to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).