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Poverty eradication: Steps Tinubu must take



Bola Tinubu2

Upon assuming office, President Tinubu removed petrol subsidies and unified the naira exchange rate. However, these actions led to a World Bank forecast of 7.1 to 10 million more Nigerians slipping into poverty in 2023. Inflation also surged to an 18-year high of 27.33% in October, primarily driven by soaring food, non-alcoholic beverage, housing, water, electricity, gas, and fuel prices. Consequently, the 2023 Global Hunger Index ranked Nigeria 109th among 125 countries, indicating a ‘serious’ level of hunger.

Tinubu recognized the severity of the issue, stating that poverty is unacceptable and outlined his vision for gainful employment and self-sufficiency for every Nigerian worker. However, he must acknowledge that Nigeria’s high poverty levels are a national disgrace, shared by the 36 state governors.

His predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, also made pledges to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty, but left office with record levels of poverty and a 33.3% unemployment rate.

To succeed, Tinubu needs to adopt concrete economic policies supported by a robust macroeconomic framework, realistic fiscal and monetary measures to address inflation, boost domestic production, and control interest and foreign exchange rates. Furthermore, he must prioritize the liberalization and privatization of the economy to stimulate production, self-sufficiency, and private sector leadership.

Tinubu’s hesitancy in privatizing public refineries, the Ajaokuta Steel Company, airports, and seaports is regressive according to experts. The incorporation of private capital should be encouraged as a means to generate revenue for infrastructure, healthcare, and education.

Tinubu must also focus on enhancing security to attract investors and farmers back to their businesses, along with revitalizing the electricity sector and prioritizing agriculture, small and medium-sized enterprises, and housing to drive employment and production.

In addition, he must advocate for restructuring to empower states in driving production and reducing poverty, as the current federalism system acts as an impediment to prosperity.

Ultimately, President Tinubu must be steadfast in his commitment to eradicating poverty, as achieving this goal is within reach with the right policies and actions.