Following the relaxation of COVID-19 lockdown in many parts of the country, the Vice Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 elections, His Excellency Mr. Peter Obi, has suggested what he described as a pathway to national economic recovery, capable of lifting millions of Nigerians out of poverty.
Obi, who spoke on AIT on Thursday, explained that conscious investment in education, health and MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) is what every struggling economy like Nigeria needs to lift the citizens out of poverty. He noted that this is the same step taken by many countries to move their economies forward.
Citing China and India as examples, Obi said: “Between years 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 follow the same development models used by the above countries, 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 US Dollars should be thrown into the sector to boost it”. He said that the N50 billion set aside by the Federal Government, through the Central Bank of Nigeria, as stimulus package to MSMEs, was clearly not enough.
Speaking further, the former Anambra State Governor 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).
Obi also recommended the funding of MSMEs as a way of curbing the growing income inequality among Nigerians.