The vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 election, Mr. Peter Obi, has suggested what he described as a pathway to national economic recovery, capable of lifting millions of Nigerians out of poverty following the gradual relaxation of COVID-19 lockdown in many parts of the country.
The former governor of Anambra state, who spoke on a live television programme monitored in Lagos, explained that conscious investment in education, health and MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) were what every struggling economy, like Nigeria’s, needed to lift the citizens out of poverty. Obi noted that these were the same steps taken by many countries to move their economies forward.
Citing China and India as examples, Obi said: “Between 2000 -2015, China pulled 439 million people out of poverty, while between years 2016 – 2018, India pulled over 170 million people out of poverty.”
He, therefore, called on the Federal Government to adopt the same development models to rise above poverty, which included investment in education, health and MSMEs.
Obi, who decried the level of under-funding in the MSME sector, said at least “$1 billion should be thrown into the sector to boost it”.
He said the N50 billion set aside by the Federal Government, through the Central Bank as stimulus package to MSMEs was clearly not enough. He said there were around 30 million MSMEs in the country and if they were ‘aggressively’ funded, there would be rapid jobs creation, all round increase in national productivity and a resultant increase in national Gross Domestic Product (GDP). He also recommended the funding of MSMEs as a way of curbing the growing income inequality among Nigerians.