President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration at the weekend declared that there are ongoing plans to implement one of its striking campaign promises that it will pay N5,000 each to the poorest Nigerians across the country monthly.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who gave the hint noted that government is “currently evaluating the best ways to collapse existing cash transfer and social welfare schemes to ensure consistency and alignment.
“Once this is completed, we will implement the first phase of this programme, using recognised identification platforms and transparent payment solutions”, he added.
Osinbajo (SAN) who disclosed this at the 10th Anniversary Lecture of Crescent University, Abeokuta, Ogun State entitled, ‘The Nigerian Economy and the Future’, also said the federal government has identified the weak transmission of electricity from the national grid, which prevents the generation of more than 5,000megawatts.
On the pervasive poverty ravaging the country, Osinbajo said the payment of N5,000 each to poor Nigerians was necessary because “we cannot talk about the economy of the future without addressing how we move people out of poverty.
“One of the most striking promises we made during the campaign was the payment of N5,000 to the poorest Nigerians across the country”, he noted, even as he regretted that today, “about 112 million (66% of Nigerians) are deemed extremely poor, measured by the World Bank parameter of those living on less than US$1.25 per day.”
The vice president observed that the level of poverty explains much of the Nigerian situation because it affects all aspects of life, including why over a million Nigerians die yearly of preventable diseases.
“It reflects in our alarming rates of infant mortality and maternal deaths at childbirth.
It also tells why so many children of school age are out of school and why so many adults lack access to healthcare and proper vocational training; why, in effect, they are less efficient and less productive at work”, Osinbajo noted.
Giving a succinct analysis of the nation’s economy, the VP said, “The vexed questions of the day pertain mainly to the economy. What is the real state of affairs? With so much reliance on a single commodity, how do we survive in an era of oil glut and falling commodity prices?”
He lamented that while many public servants are being owed arrears of salaries across the country, many traders are experiencing a downturn in sales.
“Artisans abound, whose businesses cannot thrive without power supply and many of our youths are searching in vain for employment”, the VP added.
On power generation, Osinbajo noted that the APC manifesto promised to deliver a minimum of 10% GDP growth annually, while ensuring an inclusive economy that improves the lives of all Nigerians.
This, he said, cannot happen unless a significant improvement is achieved in the power sector, even as he assured that the administration will focus on improving the supply of gas to power plants, which will ensure sufficient gas supply that will help maximise the 13,000megawatts of generating capacity.