UNARGUABLY, poverty remains one of the leading forces militating against social and economic developments.
Considering the effects of poverty on the nation’s socio-economic developments, observers note that past administrations in Nigeria have introduced various programmes to end it.
They argue that from the earliest National Accelerated Food Production Programme in 1972 to National Poverty Eradication Programme, none of them has been able to fight poverty as expected.
According to them, fighting poverty in Nigeria ought not to have been a difficult thing in view of the country’s enormous human and mineral resources.
They urge the Federal Government to find alternative poverty eradicating methods, insisting that fighting poverty is cardinal to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Economists, therefore, suggest that the theme of the recent World Day for Eradication of Poverty — Leave no one behind: think, decide and act together against extreme poverty — should provoke interests of appropriate authorities in the fight against poverty.
They stress that poverty is one of the major causes of hunger which the Food and Agriculture Organisation describes as number one on the list of the world’s top 10 health risks.
The economists also appraise the theme of the 2014 World Day for Eradication of Poverty, which is observed on every October 17, because it recognises the challenge of identifying and securing the participation of those nations that experience extreme poverty.
Sharing similar sentiments, Dr Precious Gbeneol, the Special Assistant to the President on MDGs, said there were new and difficult challenges that arose each year which required more assistance.
According to her, the increasing economic crises and global challenges such as poverty, global health problems, increase prices and the rising number of people that migrate from their countries to others, increase the need for poverty eradication.
“This is why governments across the world are being challenged to intensify efforts at improving the conditions of living of their citizens to make life worthwhile for them,’’ she said.
Gbeneol said that the MDGs have stimulated local and international efforts targeted at improving the lives of the poor and the most vulnerable in the society.
She observed that the full adoption and implementation of the goals were clear commitments of the Federal Government to eradicating poverty in the country.
“The MDGs Office ensures that poverty alleviation related projects are delivered directly to beneficiaries through multi-level synergies that leverage resources and the requisite political support from all levels of government.
“This effort is to ensure that poverty is reduced and the country is reformed to a better level,’’ she said.
She also suggested that appropriate authorities should promote inclusive and equitable economic growth in the implementation of programmes to achieve sustainable development.
“This requires the creation of greater opportunities for citizens by reducing inequalities and fostering social development,’’ she noted.
Assessing the performance of the present administration in poverty eradication programmes, Mr Mouktar Diop, the Vice President of World Bank for Africa, said that the level of poverty in Nigeria had declined from 48 per cent to 46 per cent.
He noted that the government could further reduce poverty by tackling the problem of inadequate power supply and providing jobs for the youth.
But Mr Williams Ukpong, civil servant, disagreed with Diop’s view, observing that most of Nigeria workers could not afford balanced diet with their wages to sustain their family.
“They struggle to train their children in schools while the rich keep on to acquire wealth; poverty level is high and I cannot agree that it is reducing,’’ he said.
He, nonetheless, said that the poverty level was high due to inability of the appropriate authorities to implement laudable policies on poverty eradication.
According to him, for effective fight against poverty, the Federal Government should urgently put a mechanism in place to harmonise policies on poverty eradication for effective implementation.
In her view, Mrs Deborah Ugwu, an activist, said that poverty level could not be reduced except the Federal Government focused on manufacturing sector.
“Poverty level in this country is not reducing and it behoves the authorities to have better plans on how to manage the resources of the country,’’ she said.
She said that people who were directly affected by poverty in the community must be actively engaged in participating in the fight against poverty.
Irrespective of these opinions, analysts hold the belief that fighting poverty takes time and people need to understand that they can address their challenges by being conscious of their situations and their capabilities in providing solutions.

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