The fight against extreme poverty received a significant boost with the Federal Government signing a $2.3billion assistance agreement with the United States Agency for International Development.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday.
The agreement would help the government to combat extreme poverty among Nigerians over the next five years.
According to the statement, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo signed the agreement on behalf of the Federal Government while the USAID Head of Mission in Nigeria, Mr. Michael Harvey, signed on behalf of the US government during a meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja last week.
The statement quoted Osinbajo as noting that since President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to the US on the invitation of President Barack Obama in July, the Nigerian government has seen better cooperation from the US.
The vice president also noted that there has been great deal of interaction on how the present administration intends to implement its agenda, saying the interaction is because the US wanted the government to succeed.
“The issue of the extreme poverty of a vast majority of Nigerians is a very important issue for us, it is at the heart of our economic policy, at the centre of our agenda. You can’t have that vast number of poor people and don’t plan around that and for us, this is crucial, and absolutely important”, Osinbajo was reported to have said.
Vice President Osinbajo also lauded the inclusion of the North-East among the areas of focus in the agreement, adding that there was a consensus in government to address the problem of out-of-school children and the observed drop in enrollment figures in parts of the nation.
The vice president promised that the present administration would continue to lead a transparent and open government, clean-up the business environment and emphasise a bottom-up approach economic planning.
The $2.3billion assistance will cover activities from 2015 through 2020 with the objective of helping Nigeria reduce extreme poverty in a more stable, democratic society.
It is expected to stimulate inclusive economic growth, promote a healthier, more-educated population, and help strengthen good governance.
Mr. Harvey said the agreement would provide a solid foundation for the two countries to partner to reduce inequalities across the country.