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Zero percent poverty

Published by The Nation on Wed, 13 Jan 2021


HardballNigeria needs to learn a lesson from news that China has been able to eradicate extreme poverty among its people. That countrys last nine poor counties, all in its southwest Guizhou Province, have eliminated absolute poverty, according to a November 23 report. Independent agencies confirmed that poverty in the nine counties in Guizhou had been reduced to zero percent.China had planned to eradicate absolute poverty by the end of 2020. At the end of 2019, 52 counties in the northwest, southwest and south of the country were still on the poverty list. Now there is no county on its poverty list. This is a notable feat, considering that China is the worlds most populous country, with a population of around 1.4 billion in 2019.Nigerias population is about 208 million, far less than Chinas. It is disturbing that more than 83 million Nigerians live below the national poverty line, according to the 2019 Poverty and Inequality in Nigeria report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) this year. Oxfam says about 94 million Nigerians live below the poverty line.Vice President Yemi Osinbajos remarks at the two-day executive-legislative leadership retreat held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on October 6, spoke volumes about how poorly the government has performed concerning eradicating poverty.What is the reality of the context that we operate in today' he asked. We all know our nation has millions of extremely poor people; the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened employment and poverty.Osibanjo added: It is time to focus on what we have been elected or appointed to do. This is the welfare of our people Our people just want food on their table, shelter over their heads, clothing on their bodies, healthcare and education for their children and themselves.In other words, it is easy to identify the markers of poverty. The President Muhammadu Buhari administration last year set a target of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within a 10-year period.The president has inaugurated a national steering committee to oversee the development of the Nigeria Agenda 2050 and Medium-Term National Development Plan (MTNDP), which succeeds Vision 20:2020 and the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 20172020.The United Nations (UN) defines extreme poverty as a condition characterised by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information. It depends not only on income but also on access to services.How did China eradicate extreme poverty' Definitely, it took more than lip service. That is a lesson Nigeria needs to learn.
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