Experts have urged the Federal Government to invest in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and the agriculture sector to tackle poverty in the country.
They said this in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Lagos.
They spoke against the backdrop of the Federal Government’s statement that not less than 11 million Nigerians would be pushed into the poverty rank in 2022 as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr Nerus Ekezie, a former Director of the National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), said the Federal Government should invest in the SMEs to tackle the million of Nigerains, projected to fall into poverty.
“Investing in the SME sector is the most reliable means of addressing the people expected to fall into poverty as a result of the COVID-19.
“Empowering the people through this means will create wealth and facilitate employment opportunities,” Ekezie said.
He noted that the Federal Government should have a monitoring team to give feedback on the implementation of its programmes.
“The government agency saddled with the regulating the sector, the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), should evaluate and give recommendations to the government,” Ekezie said.
Also, a former Director of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Titus Okurounmi, urged the Federal Government to continue to encourage more youths to venture into the agric sector, as a way of mitigating the expected fall into poverty.
“The Federal Government should give more incentives to the agric sector and its various value chain in order to spur their interest.
“They should collaborate with other tiers of government in empowering the people with subsidised machineries and improved seedlings,” he said.
He noted that more emphasis should be focused on livestock agriculture, as its one of the most untapped sectors.
“More youths should be encouraged to harness the enormous prospects to create wealth, especially in the hinterland,” Okurounmi said.
He noted that the sector had the capacity to lift people from poverty and create employment opportunities. (NAN)