Federal Govt targets $5billion per anum for Poverty Alleviation Trust Fund
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the setting up of the Humanitarian and Poverty Alleviation Fund with the hope of raising the sum of $5 billion yearly for emergency responses to humanitarian crises in Nigeria.
The minister of humanitarian affairs and poverty alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, disclosed this while briefing correspondents at the end of the council meeting presided over by President Bola Tinubu at the presidential villa in Abuja on Monday.
She said that the money would be raised from the government, contributions from development partners, private sectors, and individuals, among others.
According to her, the fund, which would be a form of flexible financing, would allow for emergency responses to humanitarian crises in the country.
Edu said: “Again, we are grateful to President Bola Tinubu today for the approval given for the creation of the Humanitarian and Poverty Alleviation Trusts Fund.
“This is a flexible form of financing that can help us get contributions from different sectors. So we’re going to have contributions from the government, from the private sector, development partners, individuals, philanthropic individuals, and other innovative forms of crowd-funding and pooling of funds together. This is to allow for an emergency response to humanitarian crisis in Nigeria.
“Every other day we hear about crisis, the floods and the rest of it. We need to be able to respond adequately as a country. Beyond this, the issue of poverty alleviation is one of the agendas of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in his 8-point agenda and we want to be able to tackle it headlong.
“How much are we looking at? Every year we hope to be able to raise at least $5 billion within this fund and this is from the various sources that I’ve mentioned and even more. We are hopeful that with the creation of this funding, we can sit down with all the key stakeholders, including other ministries, and actually work out the full modality of implementation in Nigeria.”
Also speaking at the press briefing, the minister of Finance and the coordinating minister for the economy, Wale Edun, revealed that the sum of $7 million has been set aside to finance adolescent girl child education and empowerment under an additional women’s project for the country.
Speaking on the memos he presented for approval by the FEC, he said that the project is about “empowering women, upscaling their skills levels, and of course, giving them some financial inclusion, including in the banking system.”
Asked how much it would take to implement the adolescent education, he added: “Essentially, financing or fundraising counterparty in transactions with World Bank, ministry of education as the implementer, I think is a question of ‘the more the merrier,’ I think you’ll agree with me that we can’t have too much financing for education for adolescent girls, for women generally. Financing for the girl child; $700 million is the size of the current project.”
On the other approvals, Edun stated: “They were to do with concessional and in many cases zero-interest financing by the World Bank and the International Development Association, which is the very concessional financing arm.
“The projects that were approved for funding were in the power sector and then the renewable energy sector. There was funding for states for resource mobilization programs to help them with the internally generated revenue efforts.
“There was a project for adolescent girls’ initiative for learning and empowerment, essentially, as it says, it’s a program to support young girls from the age of 11, secondary school age, and to ensure that at the end of the schooling, they have one skill or the other that is marketable, as well as the academic laurels.
“So those were five loans totaling $3.45billion. And as you know, the tenure is all around 40 years, moratorium period of around 10 years and interest very low, or in the cases of the either loans, zero interest, although some fees would be incurred.”
In his presentation, the minister of solid mineral development, Dele Alake, disclosed that the FEC approved a new draft policy that would provide the teeth to regulate the sector and tackle illegal miners who he said are sponsoring banditry.
He said a review of policy became necessary because of the need to tap the solid mineral resources for diversification of the economy as crude oil would go extinct with the risk of leaving the country in dire straits.
Alake noted that the clamour for climate change mitigation, green energy solutions among other emerging innovations have all combined to reduce the value of oil in the international market.
He explained: “Of course, oil is still sold. However, the trend is going down. So, if we are not careful if we do not make conscious efforts to diversify, in a couple of years, Nigeria will find itself in economic dire straits and if we have an abundance of solid mineral resources, why shouldn’t we diversify, concentrate, exploit judiciously, proficiently and efficiently, these God-given abundance resources?
“This, in essence, encapsulates the policy decision that the Federal Executive Council approved. It’s a draft policy on the entire solid mineral sector, covering the gamut of oil activities, operations, guidelines, regulatory framework, handling, sourcing, mining, everything that has to do with all the dynamics in the sector.
“This policy approval today that we got from the Federal Executive Council now gives us in the ministry the teeth that we wanted to be able to act with precision on all of those things that we have marked up, especially in terms of security.
“You’re also quite aware of illegal mining activities all over the country, both high and low. I say that with all sense of responsibility. The artisanal so-called literal miners who just dig gold everywhere without licenses, are so-called illegal miners. We also have the high class involved in this game.
“So, we are re-jigging the security architecture. We are involving inter-security agency structure to ensure that we combat this menace. These and other measures were part of the policy that the federal executive council approved today.
“In essence, it gives the solid mineral ministry power to act on all issues pertaining to the regulation, management operation of all the solid minerals sector, sanitizing the environment and making it investor friendly and ensuring the security and stability of investment and if of course, giving us a lot of attractions to both local and foreign investors.
“So the operationalisation of the solid mineral sector through the approval of today’s policy is being sanitised.”