FG dismisses poverty report on Nigeria, okays purchase of JAMB CBT centre, free trade zones
The Federal Government yesterday faulted the recent World Poverty Clock report by Brookings Institute, which estimated that 87 million Nigerians were currently living in extreme poverty.Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, disclosed this to State House Correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja.He said the data used by the rating institute was based on lagging economic indices when Nigeria was under recession.
According to the Brookings report released last week, Nigeria has overtaken India as the country with the largest number of people living in extreme poverty in the world.
Enelamah, who acknowledged that there is absolutely no doubt that there is an urgency to create employment in Nigeria, said government was however making huge investments in infrastructure.He stressed the investments would, in the long run, address the problem of poverty in the country.He stressed: “When you get reports from Brooking institutes or all sorts of people, you need to look at the context. Somebody may have written the report when we were in recession.
“Remember that if you are in a recession, it means that even though your population is growing, people won’t stop procreating. It also means that in the country’s growth fact, depending on how they run those numbers, you would be going the other way.
The minister said if we complete the things on infrastructure and implement these reports that we are doing, poverty would go down.He supported that we roll up our sleeves as a people and do the work because, if we don’t do it, the people would continue to bear children, and obviously, they would get poorer. Enelamah also explained that Nigeria was not in a hurry to sign the Continental Free Trade Agreement.He said it was important for government to adequately deliberate on the deal before President Muhammadu Buhari gives the direction to go next.He announced the Federal Executive Council (FEC)’s approval of the establishment of world-class export-oriented economic zones in six geopolitical zones.
The zones are Aba, Lagos, Katsina, Calabar and Kano as a total cost of N250 billion, through a limited liability company to be set up for the purpose.FEC also yesterday gave approval for the initial payment of N2.655billion for various projects that would be undertaken by different consultants that would lead to the implementation of the zones.He added: “We are going to do one in Lagos State Lekki Free Trade Zone Area, one in Katsina in Funtau Cotton Cluster Zone Area and another in Enyimba City, Abia State.
Similarly, FEC approved a total of N133million for the Joint Admission And Matriculation Board (JAMB) to purchase a Computer Base Test centre.Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu said: “JAMB had ran their test for people who seek admission for universities, using computer-based testing agencies. “This has been attended by leakages over time. And in order to stop that, JAMB has been able to set up its own infrastructure for the conduct of these examinations.
“They have realised that they have not sufficiently covered the grounds. They have requested for government to buy up one of the CBT test organisations for N133million. They bought over the infrastructure, equipment and building.”
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