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FG, development partners strengthen social registry to address poverty

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The Federal Government says it is working closely with development partners to strengthen the National Social Registry (NSR) to make it serve as a single database for poverty reduction interventions.

It said such interventions would be made by all stakeholders in policy and programme design.

Sen. George Akume, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), stated this in Abuja on Tuesday, during a policy dialogue on Nigeria’s poverty and vulnerability profile.

Akume was represented at the event by Mrs Esuabana Asanya, the Permanent Secretary, Political and Economic Affairs, SGF’s office.

He explained that the move was to ensure that the social register reflects the true poverty and vulnerability profile in Nigeria that would support effective targeting of interventions.

The secretary to the government of the federation pointed out that poverty and vulnerability remain pressing challenges in the country, saying that the advent of the Coronavirus has aggravated the problem.

He said current data indicated that 63 per cent of Nigeria’s population “is multi-dimensionally poor”, of which about 70 per cent constituted children.

The SGF also said that Nigeria’s social inequalities further exacerbate the situation, as access to essential resources such as food, education, healthcare, and infrastructure was unevenly distributed.

“Women, children, and persons with disabilities are among the most vulnerable groups facing poverty, ill-health, and economic shocks.

“This setback emphasizes the urgency to strengthen our efforts in mitigating these issues and improving the lives of millions of Nigerians,” he said.

He said that the dialogue was organised by the Social Protection Development Partners group, in partnership with the Federal Government to find ways to address the challenge.

Akume said the primary objective was to develop a common understanding of poverty and vulnerability in Nigeria and identify key indicators for measuring them, adding that the meeting was also to devise strategies that would strengthen the registry.

“At the end of the meeting, we will develop a shared understanding of poverty and vulnerability in Nigeria among all relevant stakeholders, including government officials, civil society organisations, and development partners.

“This common understanding will pave the way for more coordinated and efficient policy design and programme implementation.

“The meeting will equally help us to identify key indicators for measuring poverty and vulnerability in Nigeria and how to align them with a nationally agreed measure.

“By establishing these indicators, we will enhance our ability to accurately assess poverty levels and progress over time that will lead to better-informed decision-making processes,” the SGF said.

He expressed optimism that the stakeholders would establish a comprehensive framework that accommodates various dimensions of poverty and vulnerability in Nigeria.

This, according to him, will arm the government and stakeholders with the knowledge and strategic approach to design and implement effective poverty reduction and social protection policies and programmes.

“This is particularly crucial in our efforts to collectively address the critical development issues of poverty and vulnerability in Nigeria, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable populations,” he said.

Dr Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, noted that understanding the nature and extent of poverty was vital in developing targeted interventions and strategies.

Sani-Gwarzo said that the registry captures community profiling, to establish paucity of social infrastructure and its interconnectedness with poverty and issues of access to social assistance.

“The NSR is the foundational database for the poor and vulnerable in Nigeria, and this is the first time we have developed such a valuable system.

“In the past few days, this database has come into sharp focus.

“The outcome of the workshop will provide valuable insights as to the ways to strengthen what we already have,” he said.

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Job Losses, Factory Closures Loom As Unsold Goods Pile Up — MAN

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AGAINST the backdrop of sustained pressure in the foreign exchange market and high cost of production, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN has indicated that inventory of unsold goods is escalating to levels now threatening the existence of companies operating in the production sector of the economy with attendant job losses.

Findings show that as of the weekend the foreign exchange market had recorded over 254 per cent plunge in the value of the naira since flotation of the currency by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in June 2023.

Recall that the naira traded for N471 per dollar in the official I&E market on June 13, 2023 before the floatation of the currency, but exchanged for N1,665.50 to a dollar as at February 23, 2024 on the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM), indicating a depreciation of more than 253.6 per cent over the eight-month period. The forex crisis is also stoking inflation, and coupled with high energy costs, purchasing power has continued plummet, stifling demand for goods.

Speaking on the impact of this development on the manufacturing sector, Director General, MAN, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, said: “There are reports that across the board, many warehouses and plants of many manufacturing firms are stockpiled with unsold goods manufactured last year. “The development is as a result of the devastating effects of the exchange rate crisis, inflation, fake and sub-standard goods, smuggling and other macro-economics challenges.”

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Relocation Of CBN: There’ll Be Consequences If Tinubu Doesn’t Reverse – Ndume

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Ali Ndume represents Borno South Senatorial District and is Chief Whip in the 10th Senate

Ndume & Seun Okin

On the relocation of some agencies of the FG to Abuja and the apprehension of the Northern elite

Ndume: It’s not just about our Northern colleagues, this is a consensus because we only have one Federal Capital and that is Abuja. All these “Lagos boys_ that are thinking that Lagos is Nigeria are just misinforming or advising the President wrongly.

The Regulators of the financial institutions are supposed to be or are in Abuja. You want them to move because they say Lagos is the commercial capital. These are one of the mistakes and I am sure Mr President will reverse it because it doesn’t work. You can’t have two capitals or is the CBN Governor going to be operating from Lagos or the headquarters of the CBN is in Lagos?

Do you now say majority of our oil is extracted from the South South, you take NNPC to South South or is it because Nigeria’s agricultural base is more in the North, you take the Ministry of Agriculture to anywhere in the North. It doesn’t work that way and that is one of the problems that is cropping up but I am very sure and confident that Mr President will look at this because he is a Nationalist and not just a Lagos man. Some of these people, I repeat, some of these people think Lagos is Nigeria. Lagos is not Nigeria, Lagos is not the headquarters of Nigeria, the headquarters of Nigeria is in Abuja.

Seun Okin: …but the CBN is saying some departments are only moving to Lagos for operational purposes

Ndume: Which operational purposes? Why was the headquarters moved from Lagos to Abuja, is it not because of the same congestion?

Seun Okin: …only some units and departments are moving…

Ndume: If you are talking about proximity and space, why not you take them to Nasarawa, Kogi or Kaduna just nearby so that you can decongest the place and I even don’t see any issue of congestion, because there is just going to be cost because they will also be running from Lagos to Abuja everytime spending more money and even exposing the workers to unnecessary risks. This is a decision that is not well-thought out and I think the President will do something about it, I am confident of that. If that does not happen, of course this is democracy, we know what to do.

Seun Okin: ..and what will that be?

Ndume: That will be when the President refuses to reverse it

Seun Okin: What will be the reaction?

Ndume: The reaction right now is don’t try to bring in the case of tribalism into it. I am not a Hausa or Fulani man but I am a Northerner and I am a Nigerian first. And we say that since the headquarters of Nigeria was moved from Lagos because of congestion and inefficiency to Abuja where it is more Central and more of no man’s land because the Gwaris and Gbagyis are the only people there. We have enough space there, CBN can rent any office or even build from scratch to increase efficiency but moving some departments to Lagos is not the best of ideas at all or even moving any agency for that matter.

Seun Okin: Is there any political undertone or ulterior motive ..?

Ndume: I don’t want to believe there is, because I know the President that much, just that those political cartels that I told you, are in the corridors of power and trying to misinform the President.

The President will take action because he is a man that listens and corrects anything.

Some of them (political cartels) think they know better than everybody but they don’t know anything.

When you don’t know Nigeria, you only know Lagos then you start doing things as if Nigeria is Lagos.

Besides, they are not doing any favour to Mr President because this could have political consequences.

Seun Okin: Really?

Ndume: Yes, I am telling you this and those guys who are just sitting in their offices trying to hang onto Mr President will not be there to amend the political mistakes or even to correct it because they only know their offices and they only know that they have brains. It’s politics.. Was it not politics that brought them to that office in the first place? If Tinubu had not won the election as the President, will the CBN Governor be where he is today?

Who brought Mr President to that office? Was it votes from Lagos that brought him to that office? No way, Lagos is in Nigeria and we will not accept this wrong decision.

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