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Sustained social investment programmes will reduce poverty in Nigeria– NECA

By Esenvosa Izah [NAN]

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The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has identified Social Investment Programmes as panacea to reduce the level of poverty in the country, if well structured, planned and sustained over a long period.

The Director-General of the association, Dr Timothy Olawale, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in an interview on Thursday in Lagos that the programmes were aimed causing positive changes in the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable in the country.

He said, however, that there was need for synergy with other parastatal agencies of government in driving the process and achieving meaningful result devoid of political interference.

“The various Social Investment Programmes embarked on by the current administration, such as the N-Power, Conditional Cash Transfer Scheme, Home Grown School Feeding programme and Extended Special Public Works programme to a large extent are laudable social inclusion projects.

“If well-structured with no political interference, the schemes have the potential to increase the disposable income of the poor and thus, increase demand for goods and services, which will in turn have a positive effect on the Real Sector.

“While the social interventions are commendable, they cannot, however, be substituted for adequate infrastructure and a functional, productive and growth-oriented Real Sector.

“Government should do more to support organised businesses to enable it fulfil its role as the engine of development in the economy, “he said.

The NECA boss noted that the country was hugely deficient in provision of critical infrastructure as a result of decline in its revenue projections based on global health and economic crisis.

He said that in order to overcome such challenges, part of government responsibilities was provision of social safety nets for the most vulnerable in the society as part of its welfare packages.

“In addressing the challenges of provision of critical infrastructure, there is an urgent need for more structured policy direction towards collaborating and forging stronger alliance with Private Sector representatives.

“The collaboration should include developing structures for provision of most of these needed infrastructures and providing tax rebates or credits.

“A good example is the road construction and rehabilitation ongoing nationwide by Dangote Cement,” Olawale said. (NAN)


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