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Tony Elumelu: How FG Can Lift 100m out of Poverty
Plans to empower 1,000 northern youths with $5000 each
Gboyega Akinsanmi in Lagos and Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano
The Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), Mr. Tony Elumelu Saturday noted that with the right resolve accompanied by concrete action, the federal government could lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.
In his foundation’s contribution to reduce the country’s poverty rate, Elumelu unveiled a new plan the TEF had resolved to empower at least 1000 young entrepreneurs, disclosing that each beneficiary would receive with a sum of $5,000.
He disclosed the plan on his twitter handle @TonyElumeluFDN saturday shortly after he was conferred with an Honourary Degree in Business Administration at the convocation of the Bayero University, Kano (BUK).
Buhari had at the June 12 Democracy Day commemoration in Abuja said that his administration can lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.
Buhari added that despite the positive growth in the economy, his administration “is mapping out policies to ensure that the country’s GDP grows by 2.7 per cent in 2019….With leadership and a sense of purpose, we can lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.”
At the convocation yesterday, Elumelu expressed confidence that Buhari’s commitment to lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty “is laudable and possible, though ambitious.”
He said, “I am sure we took note of President Buhari’s commitment to lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty. This is laudable, ambitious, but indeed very possible with the right resolve accompanied by concrete actions.”
To realise this commitment, Elumelu challenged the federal government “to abolish multiple taxes on small businesses; ease the operating environment for these employment generators by making business registration easier; prioritise training and development and entrench the rule of law.”
He equally challenged the federal government “to create industrial, technology and agric zones for industries to thrive. We all also need peace and security.
“We, the private sector and those with means, should invest in our young ones in a manner that creates social and economic returns, which is the philosophy driving the TEF.”
Elumelu, chairman of Heirs Holdings and United Bank for Africa Plc, acknowledged that he had met a lot of bright, enterprising and hopeful young Nigerians, who graduated from the Bayero University, Kano.
He, therefore, noted that occasions like this gave him optimism about the future in Nigeria, thereby congratulating all 10,000 graduates and fellow conferees at the convocation.
On this note, Elumelu announced his foundation’s plan to empower 1,000 northern youths, noting that under the empowerment scheme, each beneficiary would receive a sum of $5,000.
He said, “If only you had started talking earlier… It is never too late anyway. Your experience and insight will be highly valuable. We are empowering entrepreneurs all over Africa, but particularly in every nook and corner of Nigeria
“We already have entrepreneurs from the northern region of Nigeria. I was pleased to announce in my acceptance speech, a partnership with the UNDP, which will afford funding for another 1,000 entrepreneurs in the North and the wider Sahel region.”
Also speaking at the convocation, the Pro-chancellor of the university, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari urged the private sector to compliment government investment on education.
Gambari, Nigeria’s former Nigerian Permanent Representative in the United Nation, canvassed new strategic approach toward hasty end to cases of banditry, kidnapping and other security threat in the country.
The institution’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mohammed Yauza Bello revealed that of 9,583 first degrees and higher degrees graduands while 105 exceptionally graduated with first class degrees.