Williams Anuku Abuja
Barely few hours after President Muhammadu Buhari presented the 2020 appropriations bill to the National Assembly for passage, he followed suit by administering oaths of office on members of the newly constituted Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC).
In doing so, he indirectly set agenda for them, insisting that they must find ways to pull 100million Nigerians out of the poverty bracket within a ten year timeframe.
Although Buhari is settling down for the last lap of his administration, having been re-elected President recently, he also tasked the new economic team led by Prof. Doyin Salami, a former member of the monetary policy committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria to develop reliable data that would aid development programmes.
All these the President noted should be accomplished within the shortest possible time.
“Find a way to coordinate and synthesize ideas and efforts on how to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years, working in collaboration with various employment generating agencies of government,” he told the PEAC.
Other members that constitute the 8-man Council includes Muhammed Sagagi, Ode Ojowu, Shehu Yahaya,Iyabo Masha, Chukwuma Soludo, Bismark Rewane and Mohammed Adaya Salisu.
While lamenting the dearth of reliable data, Buhari said it was disheartening to know that foreigners stay in their comfort zones and gather data which does not properly reflect what is happening in Nigeria.
“What I see as your most important national assignment is that as you develop your baseline study, I would like you to focus on primary data collection.
‘‘Today, most of the statistics quoted about Nigeria are developed abroad by the World Bank, IMF and other foreign bodies.
‘‘We can only plan realistically when we have reliable data. As you are aware, as a government, we prioritised agriculture as a critical sector to create jobs and bring prosperity to our rural communities.
‘‘Our programs covered the entire agricultural value chain from seed to fertiliser to grains and ultimately, our dishes.
The Council, constituted on September 16, 2019, to replace the Economic Management Team (EMT) headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was also mandated to develop a baseline study that will help shape ideas for a sustainable and prosperous future, especially as it affects internally displaced persons in the North East.
On the Social Investment Programmes (SIPs), the President told members that his administration was working to measure the impact of the programme targeted at improving the well-being of millions of poor and vulnerable citizens.
As such, the President said he had directed the new Minister for Humanitarian Affairs to commence a comprehensive data-gathering exercise in all Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in the North East.