President Muhammadu Buhari has said that it was impossible for him to ignore the poor who made great sacrifice to bring him to government, saying “Ours, more than any other government in the history of Nigeria, is a people’s government. We therefore must and we will keep faith with the people.”
Buhari was speaking at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja on Thursday at the presidential parley with the Senior Executive Course No. 38 of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru.
President Buhari reiterated the commitment of his administration to the Sustainable Development Goals, most especially to ending extreme poverty in Nigeria.
He said: “It (Ending extreme poverty) is not going to be easy, but we are committed to dealing with the challenges in a decisive manner. Fortunately, the report of the participants has prescribed some concrete measures on how to reduce poverty in the country.”
He maintained that poverty reduction and inclusive development had become pillars of his administration and very close to his heart.
He also insisted that the current economic crisis in the nation was not the making of his government, but a consequence of mismanagement in the past decades.
He said: “In the last one and half years of this administration, the economy has experienced some tough times, particularly with the decline in oil revenues, which has some harsh impacts on Nigerians at the grassroots. It is also important to note that the economic recession is not the making of this administration, but rather a consequence of bad management of the economy in the past couple of decades. Nor is recession limited to Nigeria – there are far, far worse cases than Nigeria.”
The president, however, said that whatever the scale of the problem, the important thing is how one tackles it.
He said his administration was therefore committed to finding lasting solutions to the nation’s economic structural imbalance.
He asked the citizens to have faith in the country that “we will come out of this recession vibrant and strong.”
President Buhari commended the institute for keeping faith and moving Nigeria towards a better society.
“The institute, even with the limited resources, was able to come up with such a policy-oriented research findings. I want to assure you that the Federal Executive Council will carefully study this report and implement all the practical recommendations,” he said.
The Acting Director-General of NIPS, Jonathan Juma, decried that the institute is operating below its conceived capacity.
This, according to him, is due to the institute’s inability to attract a full complement of requisite staff that will conduct research across broad strategic areas of national life and impart new knowledge.
He stated: The financial situation of the national institute is precarious. The payments for utility services are in arrears and worse still. We have to live with threats of litigation from numerous creditors. Operational vehicles in the institute’s fleet have aged and are a source of constant embarrassment.
He said the instituted had looked inward and appealed to the generosity of individuals and corporate Nigerians for support.
Juma, who expressed delight that there had been some positive responses, however, emphasised that “a decisive presidential intervention for a sustainable funding of NIPSS is urgently required.”
The NIPS boss stated that a lot could be done by the institute if more robust budgetary support was extended to it.