CIVIL Society Organisations, CSOs, Friday, urged the Federal Government to take proactive measures to salvage 7 million Nigerians pushed below the poverty line as indicated in a recent report presented by the World Bank.
It will be recalled that on Tuesday the World Bank in its Nigeria Development Update (NDU) report, titled ‘Resilience through Reforms’ said high inflation rate caused by rise in prices of goods and services pushed 7 million Nigerians below the poverty line by 2020.
“It will be recalled that we issued a statement on electricity tariff and fuel pump price during the lockdown of COVID-19 pandemic, we argued against it, also the World Bank argued that it was the best time to increase electricity tariff and fuel pump price and they just not stop at that time many Nigerians were going down the drain because of inflation already due to the lockdown and many of them were going out of jobs; a lot of us in the informal sector were locked down, all their capital has been eaten up, and now they are tying to find their way, and then you say this is the best time to increase electricity tariff and fuel pump price, is it for those who are working or not working or those who have lost their jobs?
“We thought it was never the best time to increase anything, and of course whenever you increase pump price of fuel it causes inflation and the host of other things even food prices go up.
“Where were we when the pump price increased and electricity tariff? Inflation has jumped up, and it is almost 18 per cent. For the World Bank to look at and say 7 million Nigerians will go below the poverty line, are they kidding me!? They encouraged it, and they want the Nigerian government to deal with it and the Nigerian people are to deal with it. It is such a tragedy we are finding ourselves, and they should ask themselves how we came about by more people going the poverty lane.
“They should try to track it and trace it back to the increase in fuel pump price and all the discussion of subsidy we don’t believe it.
“The government of any country uses their resources to help people in need and I thought that is what government is doing. How can you raise people and then your flog them down with the another hand? We need to really look at it. What is going on here?
“The government of Buhari said they raised 10 million people out of poverty, and the poverty clock is saying otherwise. But even if you raised 10 million out of poverty and 7 million are fallen because of your decisions, where does that match? We need to reconsider the plight of the poor in this country.
“Like anti-poverty organization like us we re shocked by some of the decisions that are being taken. We need to come back to the drawing board. What have we done to the plight of poor people in Nigeria and the looming population of young people that have no jobs that are milling around the streets and have nothing to think about?
“The psyche of this people and then you has insurgency we need to deal with it. The political class needs to sit down and put a drawing board and see a kind of society they seem not to see the mirror of what is happening and it is very frustrating at that level because we work at the community levels and directly with the people, and we are really worried about this country.”
FG needs to reduce expenditures, borrow to establish factories for job creation-CN
The Convener, Concerned Nigerians, CN, Deji Adeyanju, said, “For me I am going to take more pragmatic view or approach to this matter because I believe the greatest and fastest ways to get this issue resolved; government needs to cut down expenditures, focus more on the informal sector, work with the private sector to see how to give low interest loans to the private sector to create jobs which is currently we are not doing, and we have no business doing as a nation funding expensive lifestyles of our politicians and civil servants.
“By now no civil servant should be using official cars including politicians. Those who cannot afford to go to work with their personal cars should be told to resign or stay at home. People can work from home because there are thousands of vehicles that have been purchased and the running cost of these vehicles can develop textile companies, agro-allied factories including juice making companies.
“The government should show commitment, and Nigeria is becoming broke, and we cannot continue to borrow money to build railways that are not viable.
“You are not borrowing money to build factories make outstanding contributions to make economic advancement but you are borrowing money to build no-viable projects. We must think out of the box.”
FG must stop propaganda for sound economic programmes to salvage situation- CISLAC
The Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, and Head of Transparency International in Nigeria, Auwal Ibrahim Rafsanjani, said, “Many Nigerians believe that the projection by the World Bank does not reflect the reality on the ground as more people are not captured who are facing absolute poverty in Nigeria.
“The ongoing poverty in Nigeria is an artificial poverty caused by bad governance, corruption and lack of developmental agenda
“ If we are to over come this threat of poverty in Nigeria, government much work towards putting sound programmes no not propaganda
“We must improve on trade and investment through agriculture, science and technology and human development.”
Improve purchasing power of Nigerians to patronize Nigerian made goods-AFAN
The National President, All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, Arc Kabir Ibrahim, said, “The report on just 7,000,000 people joining abject poverty due inflation is an understatement.
“We must improve the purchasing power of our people by patronizing local content in more impactful ways.
“The generality of our people are unemployed or underemployed and this is the breeding ground for poverty.”