The Federal Government has signed a $2.3bn assistance agreement aimed at fighting extreme poverty 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. Akande said the agreement would help the government to combat extreme poverty among Nigerians over the next five years.
He said 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.
He quoted Osinbajo as noting that since President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to the US President Barack Obama in the White House in July, the Nigerian government had seen better cooperation from the US.
The Vice-President also noted that there had been great deal of interaction on how the present administration intended to implement its agenda, saying the interaction was 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. 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.
The Vice-President 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 enrolment figures in parts of the nation.
He promised that the present administration would continue to lead a transparent and an open government, clean up the business environment and emphasise a bottom-up approach to economic planning.
The $2.3bn assistance will cover activities from 2015 through 2020, with the objective of helping Nigeria reduce extreme poverty in a more stable and democratic society.
It is expected to stimulate inclusive economic growth, promote a healthier, more educated population and help strengthen good governance.
The USAID director said the agreement would provide a solid foundation for the two countries to partner to reduce inequalities across the country.