One year ago, during the Presidential Parley with the Participants of the Senior Executive Course 37 of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, I saddled the Management of the National Institute with the responsibility of looking at Strengthening Institutional Mechanisms for Poverty Reduction and Inclusive Development in the 2016 Course. I am glad that the Participants of the Senior Course 38 took up the challenge and today presented the Report of the Study.
I have carefully noted the report, most especially its findings and policy recommendations. I recall with pleasure that when I was giving this task, six months after this administration came into office, the selection of the theme was not only apt but also timely.
Today, poverty reduction and inclusive development have become pillars of this administration and very close to my heart.
I am very pleased that the Participants, through the able leadership of the National Institute of Management and the faculty members, have taken the task seriously, as is evident in the report presented. I congratulate you for painstakingly committing your time and energy to produce such a valuable policy-oriented report that will guide this administration.
I have looked forward to receiving this report because it touches on one of the fundamental problems confronting our nation. The Report comes at a time when our economy is experiencing a downturn and all efforts are being made by this administration to get our country moving again.
In the last one and half years of this administration, the economy has experienced some tough times, particularly with the decline in oil revenues, which has some harsh impacts on Nigerians at the grassroots. It is also important to note that the economic recession is not the making of this administration, but rather a consequence of bad management of the economy in the past couple of decades. Nor is recession limited to Nigeria – there are far, far worse cases than Nigeria.
Whatever the scale of the problem the important thing is how one tackles it. Accordingly, this administration is committed to finding lasting solutions to our economic structural imbalance. Let us have faith in our great nation that we will come out of this recession vibrant and strong. I am glad that the report presented today has given us reason to keep faith in our ability to overcome our challenges.
There is no doubt that poverty for decades has been a major challenge to us as a nation despite the country’s enormous wealth. Several policies and programmes that have been implemented over the years, as rightly observed by the Report, have not broken the cycle of poverty in Nigeria. From the findings of the research by the Participants, it is evident that strengthening our institutions is key to reducing poverty and engendering inclusive development.
It is impossible for this administration to ignore the poor who made great sacrifices to bring us to government. Ours more than any other government in the history of Nigeria is a people’s government. We, therefore must and we will keep faith with the people.
It is in this light that I wish to declare the commitment of this administration to the Sustainable Development Goals, most especially to ending extreme poverty in Nigeria. It is not going to be easy, but we are committed to dealing with the challenges in a decisive manner. Fortunately, the Report of the Participants has prescribed some concrete measures on how to reduce poverty in the country.
Once again, I want to sincerely commend the efforts of the National Institute for keeping faith and moving us towards a better society. The Institute, even with the limited resources, was able to come up with such a policy-oriented research findings. I want to assure you that the Federal Executive Council will carefully study this Report and implement all the practical recommendations.
On behalf of the Government and people of Nigeria, let me congratulate you on your patriotic efforts.
Thank you and God bless our country.