The Federal Government has blamed the high poverty rate in the country on the failure of the State Governments to contribute their quota of development responsibilities to the grassroots where the major production activities take place.
Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba, stated this to State House Correspondents after the week’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Agba was responding to a question demanding to know what he and his colleague, the Minister of Financial, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, were doing to ameliorate the biting hardship facing the majority of Nigerians at the moment.
The Minister, who attempted to defray the notion that rising levels of hunger and lack were peculiar to Nigeria, explained that the Federal Government, through many of its social security programmes, has been dedicating resources to alleviating hardship on the public, but noted that state governments, which have been consistently receiving their shares of national resources, had been misdirecting the resource to project that have almost no direct effect on the needs of the people.
He pointed out that 72 percent of the poverty in Nigeria is found in the rural areas, which he said had been abandoned by governors, adding that the state executives prefer to function in the state capitals.
He lamented that state governors are concentrating on building flyovers, airports and other projects that are visible in the state capitals rather than investing in areas that directly uplift the standard of life of the people in the rural areas.
Agba pointed out that while states are in charge of land for agriculture, they do not invest in them for the desired effect on their rural citizens.
He advised Governors that rather than concentrate attention on the building of sky scrappers, flyovers and bridges, they should focus on initiatives that can pull the majority of the people out of poverty.