Poverty Eradication Day: Pulling people out of poverty remains my priority, says Peter Obi

Peter Obi 

Presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the last general elections, Mr Peter Obi, has reiterated his desire to pull people out of poverty as a top priority in his plans for a New Nigeria.

Obi said his position derives from the empirical facts that no nation, Nigeria inclusive, can develop with more than half of its population living in poverty.

In his message to mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, Obi lamented that the high rate of poverty in the country is avoidable with good and focused leadership. 

The former Anambra state governor said a combination of high level of insecurity, a harsh economic environment, and an unstable political atmosphere, all combine to push more Nigerians below the poverty line, daily.

"Nigeria is today known as the world capital of poverty. According to the World Poverty Clock, over 71 million Nigerians live in extreme poverty, today, and a total of 133 million people, 63 percent of the population, are classed as multidimensionally poor, according to a National Bureau of Statistics’ data. 

According to Oxfam, the richest 0.003 percent of Nigerians, 6,355 individuals, worth $5 million and above, have 1.4 times more wealth than 107 million other Nigerians. This high rate of poverty and gross income inequality, are obviously a threat to national prosperity and development," he said.

Obi argued that investing in small-scale businesses across the country remains the fastest way of lifting people out of poverty. He argued that such small businesses, as the engine of economic growth, will catalyze the economy, and help in moving the nation from consumption to production. By so doing, there will be rapid creation of jobs and more productivity in the nation.

"According to the United Nations, India lifted approximately 415 million individuals out of poverty between 2006 and 2021. The United Nations reported that India achieved a remarkable milestone by reducing their global MPI (Multidimensional Poverty Index) values by half within a span of 15 years. 

"According to the World Bank, more than 33 million Bangladeshi people have been lifted out of poverty since 2000; Bangladesh's per capita has increased almost threefold between 2010 and 2020, from under $700 to $2,068, moving Bangladesh into the ranks of middle-income economies. Bangladesh is projected to enter upper-middle income status by 2041.

"All these countries, and many other comparable nations, have invested in the small business sector, enabling them to lift millions of people out of poverty," Obi pointed out.

Obi therefore, in a press release signed by a media aide, Michael Jude Nwolisa, called on government, at all levels, to take urgent and positive action by reforming and investing in critical areas of development; health, education, and lifting people out of poverty. He maintained that this remains his mission in the New Nigeria.
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