By Mukwuzi Joseph
President Muhammadu Buhari has said that in the last two years, his administration lifted 10.5 million people out of poverty.
Buhari in his Democracy Day speech said those lifted out of poverty were farmers, small-scale traders, artisans and market women.
He said his government is doing its best in the face of scarce resources and galloping population growth rate that consistently outstrip the capacity to provide jobs.
”Our over-all economic target of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years is our goal notwithstanding COVID-19.
“In the last two years, we lifted 10.5 million people out of poverty – farmers, small-scale traders, artisans, market women and the like.
“I am very convinced that this 100 million target can be met and this informed the development of a National poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy. The specific details of this accelerated strategy will be unveiled shortly.
“In the last one year, Nigeria and the whole world faced COVID-19 for which no one was fully prepared.
“Our response to the pandemic involved making hard choices in balancing livelihoods and public health concerns. You are all living witnesses to how successful this has been due to a number of proactive measures put in place. Our response to COVID-19 is globally acclaimed.
“We were able to ensure that the various lockdown measures did not impact too negatively on the ability of ordinary Nigerians to continue sustaining their livelihoods.
“During the pandemic, we disbursed N5,000 to 1 million Nigerians using a Rapid Response Register and advanced N20,000 to 750,000 beneficiaries of the Conditional Cash Transfer Progamme and provided 1.37 million Nigerians with palliatives from CACOVID.
“At the same time, the Federal Government released 109,000 metric tonnes of food reserve stocks and 70,000 metric tonnes of grains to the poor and vulnerable in all 36 states of the federation.”
He added that his administration reduced interest rates from 9% to 5% for struggling businesses and extended credit facilities to 548,345 beneficiaries.