Insufficient Funding: Minister Laments N532.5 Billion Budget For Poverty Alleviation

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu, has expressed her concern over the insufficiency of the allocated amount in the 2024 budget for effectively combating poverty in the country.
During the budget defense session on Tuesday, before the Joint National Assembly Committee of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, chaired by Senator Idiat Adebule, the Minister emphasized that the allocated overhead ceiling of N532.5 billion represents a 28 percent increase over the 2023 budget, aimed at mitigating the impacts of inflation.
However, she pointed out that the 28 percent rise in the overhead ceiling does not align proportionally with the current inflation rate of 27.33 percent in the economy.
Edu urged the committee to carefully reconsider the budget, emphasizing the need for a more reasonable allocation to effectively address challenges related to poverty.
She highlighted the importance of aligning words with actions and meeting the sincere demands of constituencies. Edu also noted the ministry’s special projects, which could contribute to achieving poverty reduction targets if adequately funded.
Edu said, “Conversely, the capital budget ceiling was reduced from N3.7bn in 2022 to N1.328316bn in 2023 and it represents a 71 per cent reduction.
“So, in 2022 and 2023, there was a 71 per cent reduction.
“However, the pittance capital ceiling of N1.535b, which is an increase from the current year’s budget, does not in any way match with the mandate of the ministry’s headquarters to shrink poverty in Nigeria.”
The Minister added, “Simply put, there was an over 71 per cent reduction between 2022 and 2023, so the minimal increase between 2023 and 2024 does not in any way match with the mandate we have been given and what is expected of us.
“At this point, I will plead humbly and sincerely with the chairman, co-chair, and members of this great Committee that as we look into Nigeria as a nation. The burden lies on us to tackle the issue of poverty with sincerity. One thing you can take from me and my team working under the guardians 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.”
She further explained, “It will be words that would not be marched with actions. I am happy that you represent constituencies and senatorial zones. A lot is being expected of you from the government in your constituencies to meet their real, sincere demands.
“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 the ground is done.
“The ministry has several special projects, which I would not like to mention, and we intend to use these special projects as agencies under us to meet the target.”
Ada Peter

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