GOV OTTI AT MEETING WITH EU, UNICEF, ILO SAYS ABIA WORKING HARD TO REDUCE POVERTY
Abia State Governor, Dr. Alex Otti, OFR, says his administration is working tirelessly to reduce poverty in the state, far below its present 30% rate, in the next one year, despite growing population.
Governor Otti said whereas it may not be possible to eliminate poverty, the government was working to alleviate it by creating the enabling environment for businesses to grow, generate employment and generally improve the quality of lives of its citizens.
The Governor, who addressed a delegation of the European Union with its development partners from the UNICEF and International Labour Organization (ILO), who visited him on Tuesday, however, said the government would require a reliable database to be able to plan and measure progress in its quest to address the poverty issue.
“We may not be able to eliminate poverty but we can alleviate it when we create an enabling environment for businesses to grow and generate employment and pull people out of unemployment.
“So, we want to genuinely take people out of poverty and we want to generate a reliable number. We want to see the number and see the poverty rates go down even if the population is going high. Once you have a reliable database it becomes easy to plan and for you to measure,” the Governor said.
While thanking the team for considering Abia as one of the states selected for partnership, Governor Otti restated that everything his administration had done in the last eight months in office was geared towards genuinely bringing Abians out of poverty.
“I want to see that in the next one year with an increase in population, the poverty level will be reducing not just the rate.
“We have struggled with the social register. I am happy you are talking about social register and social protection. There is nothing as important as data, because without data you cannot plan.
“So, we’ll do everything possible to ensure that you do your work and generate reliable data for the purpose other than social protection.
“I think the world is looking at multidimensional poverty, like you said, which means we are not just interested in poverty as a stand-alone item, but poverty that looks at wealth, access to education and infrastructure. I think those three are multidimensional poverty that you’re looking at,” Governor Otti said.
He informed the team that Abia was one of the safest in Nigeria, having committed a lot of resources in the security sector with the launch of the security initiative “Operation Crush”, which he noted accounts for improved security in Abia State.
The Governor said that his government was happy to work with the European Union and its partners, describing the cooperation as commendable. He added that Abia would be pleased to see the International Labour Organization also partner the state in resolving issues of pension to which the ILO representative responded positively.
In her remarks, the Commissioner for women Affairs and poverty alleviation Mrs Blessing Felix said that Abia as of today cannot boast of a reliable social register, adding that the intervention of the team will help the state to come up with an accurate and reliable social support register that has eluded the state for many decades.
Earlier in her speech, the team leader and Programme Manager for Social Protection, European Union, Miss Chioma Osuji, told the Governor that they were in Abia to partner the state in strengthening its social protection system by coming up with a reliable social register that would serve as a guide in providing the necessary support to addressing the multidimensional poverty rate in the state.
She regretted that many poor Nigerians were yet to be captured on the social register to determine the actual number in need of their services, adding that the whole process will now be digitised to tackle the multidimensional poverty rate in Nigeria.
The team leader, while noting that Abia was selected among four states to enjoy the partnership of EU and her partner agencies, stated that the team would help the state get a social protection policy with all the legislative framework.
In their remarks, the Social Policy Specialist UNICEF, Nigeria, Mr. Segun Tekun; and the Senior Programme Officer, International Labor Organization (ILO), Mrs. Chinyere Emeka-Anuma noted that their Agencies are working with the EU to strengthen intervention projects in their chosen locations, pointing out that the team would meet with stakeholders in various sectors of the state to enable them know their areas of interest and what the team can bring to the table.
The wife of the Governor, Mrs. Priscilla Otti, and a host of government functionaries were part of the meeting.
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor
Government House, Umuahia
January 31, 2034.