Report By: Tunde Aremu
A state governor, Peter Obi, the Minister for National Planning, members of the national assembly, heads of government parastatals with mandate to address poverty and activists will on Tuesday, March 12 gather at Sheraton Hotel, Abuja for a high level national policy dialogue on poverty.
According to the organizers of the National Dialogue on Poverty, ActionAid Nigeria, “the dialogue is organized in response to the obvious need for a rethink of the current response to poverty in Nigeria”.
As explained by the Policy and Campaigns Manager of ActionAid Nigeria, Tunde Aremu, “the current Nigeria poverty profile, which incidentally is produced by a government agency, has shown that in spite of the many government policies and interventions on poverty, the incidence of poverty in Nigeria has worsened.”
The worsening situation of poverty in the country, according to Aremu is a paradox given the fact that “In the last quarter of 2012, Nigeria’s GDP growth rate was put at 7.1 per cent. This is a feet none of the top economies in the world achieved at that time. In spite of its wealth, infant and maternal mortality index in the Nigeria is among the poorest in the world”
This situation according to the anti-poverty agency though may not be as a result of lack of will on the part of government and its agencies to address the state of poverty in the nation, there is still an urgent need for a critical look at interventions currently in place.
According to Aremu, “No doubt a lot of progress have been made in terms of development in the country, but it is important that there is an appreciation of the level of progress if the country must meet the goals of the MDGs and in a broader context achieve its Vision 20 2020.”
The poverty dialogues according to ActionAid is therefore organised to “take a critical and result-driven look at the issue of failure of several interventions in poverty eradication and development in general.
“It will also build consensus on what should constitute the appropriate strategy to deal with poverty in the country, while providing a platform for discourse on the challenges and realization of the MDGs as it still presents one of the most encompassing framework for development”
The poverty dialogue will take the format of a public discourse. The discourse is to be led by a well respected international specialist, Professor Adebayo Olukoshi, the Director of the UN African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (IDEP) whose views on poverty and poverty eradication subjects are well respected.
(Aremu Is The Policy Advocacy and Campaigns Manager Of ActionAid Nigeria. He can be reached on:Tel:+234 (0) 812 8888 825-7 | Mob: +234 (0) 802 318 0493