Edu begs NASS to raise poverty eradication budget

Sharon EboesomiDecember 12, 20234 min

Minister Edu called attention to non-provision for a poverty eradication trust fund and said there has been over 71% reduction in capital allocation to the ministry between 2022 and 2023 

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Beta Edu, has pleaded with the National Assembly to increase the capital allocation to her ministry in the 2024 budget as the amount allocated is not sufficient for poverty eradication in the country. 

The minister made the plea when she appeared before the joint National Assembly committee on Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation alongside officials from her ministry and parastatals under its purview on Tuesday. 

In order to mitigate the effects of inflation, she informed the senate chaired by Senator Idiat Oluranti (APC, Lagos West) that the ministry was granted an overhead budget of N532.5bn, a 28% increase over what was allocated in the 2023 budget. 

She however regretted that the capital allocation N1.535bn is insufficient to address the myriads of issues her ministry deals with.  

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She said: “Simply put, there was an over 71% reduction between 2022 and 2023 so the minimal increase between 2023 and 2024 does not in any way match with the mandate which we have been given and what is expected of us.

“The burden lies on us to actually tackle the issue of poverty with sincerity. One thing you can take from myself and my team working under the guidance of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is that he truly wants Nigerians to be out of poverty. Except  the budget is appropriate for it, we would be completely unable to meet that mandate. 

“That is the reason why this committee must go beyond board to ensure that the present budget which was given to the ministry and agencies is carefully looked into, reconsidered and something more reasonable and in keeping with the realities on ground is done. The ministry has several special projects which I will not like to mention and we intend to use these special projects as agencies under us to meet the target.”

Speaking further, she said: “Something very serious was omitted. If you followed the news closely, the President who is the Chairman of the Federal Executive Council recently approved the creation of Humanitarian and Poverty Eradication Trust Fund. This Trust is expected to have contribution from the Federal Government 30% counterpart funding which is supposed to come from donor agencies as well as development partners. We  also have 30% coming from the private sector and then, 10% from other very innovative funds of resource mobilization which we have already started engagement in the over 111 days in office. 

“We have been engaging massively for these funds to come into Nigeria to support the implementation of programmes which we will be implementing with you at the front burner by reaching out to your constituents.” 

Edu also stressed the need for Nigeria to put its own part of the funding on the table as it would not only be an attraction to those who are supposed tp bring in funding but will serve as a way to reach the poor and indeed eradicate poverty from the country.

“We plead with this great committee that as you make your submission to the appropriation committee and of course furthermore to the final level where the gavel will go down on the 2024 appropriation we seek that you help us ensure the inclusion of these budget line as well as appropriation for this budget line. she added.

Sen. Oluranti then enquired as to whether the ministry had included the said line item during the budget planning process to which Edu responded in the affirmative. “This was clearly stated as an omission and that is why we are asked to bring in as a memo to the committee to see how they can consider it,” she stated.

Sharon Eboesomi

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