October 5, 2015

Poverty reduction: FG signs 5 years $2.3billion assistance with US

By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA – In dire need to reduce extreme poverty in Nigeria, especially in the insurgency ravaged north eastern part of the country, the federal government has signed a $2.3billion assistance agreement with the United States Agency for International Development.

The agreement would cover activities of the government for the next five year running from 2015 through 2020.
The development was contained in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, disclosed on Sunday.

According Akande, Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo last week in a meeting held at the presidential villa, Abuja signed the agreement on behalf of the Federal Government just as the USAID Head of Mission in Nigeria, Mr. Michael Harvey, signed on behalf of the US government.

Akande in the statement added that the the U.S. Government has shown more than a passing interest in the present government in Nigeria, noting the the country’s relationship with that of the US improved on the heels of the recent visit of president Mohammadu Buhari in July.

“The issue of the extreme poverty of a vast majority of Nigerians is a very important issue for us, it is at the heart of our economic policy, at the centre of our agenda. You can’t have that vast number of poor people and don’t plan around that and for us, this is crucial, and absolutely important,” Osinbajo said.

The Vice President who assured of absolute transparency in running the affairs of the also expressed deep satisfaction that the crisis ridden North-East was fathomed into the agreement, especially to tackle the problem of out-of-school children as well as as other parts of the country.

Essentially, the treaty is expected to “stimulate inclusive economic growth, promote a healthier, more-educated population and help strengthen good governance.”

Also speaking the USAID Director said the agreement would provide a solid foundation for the two countries to partner to reduce inequalities across the country.