By Tunde Oyekola, Osogbo
The Government of Osun State has said it is not surprised that the state is again declared the lowest in ‘Incidence of Poverty’ in Nigeria by the United Nations Development Programme.
“We have done everything humanly possible to reduce poverty, create wealth and put smiles on the faces of our people,” said the Osun Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Adelani Baderinwa.
The Computation of Human Development Indices for the UNDP Nigeria Human Development Report (2016) which was released by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) recently rated Osun the lowest state in the ‘Incidence of Poverty’.
According to the report, Osun has 17.5 per cent incidence of poverty.
It would be recalled that the NBS had in 2013 rated Osun the second lowest state in Poverty Index in 2013, one of the five states with lowest unemployment rate by NBS, and the second richest state in Nigeria by the United Nations’ Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index in 2017.
NBS stated in the report: “The Incidence of Poverty which is the percentage of Nigerians who are poor is 53.7 percent and the disaggregation by state shows that it is more prevalent (89.9 percent) in Sokoto state, followed by Jigawa state with 86.1 per cent, Rivers and Ebonyi state share 58.9 per cent each, while the lowest state is Osun state with 17.5 per cent”.
Reacting, Baderinwa said the government was not surprised with the UNDP and NBS’s report, describing it as a compliment on Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s administration.
Baderinwa maintained that the projects, programmes and policies put in place by Aregbesola have no doubt developed the economy of the state, improve the wellbeing of the people and guarantee security of life and properties.
“The report is a welcome development; it actually reflects the social and economic development in the state. The confirmed Aregbesola’s ingenuity, vision and ceaseless efforts in transforming the state, improve wellbeing of the people and creation of wealth.
“Programmes like Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES) which has usefully engaged 60,000 youths, Osun Free School Feeding progamme named ‘O MEAL’ which employs over 3334 women who prepare meals for the school children, and series of empowerment programmes have reduced poverty in the state.”
He added: “Osun was in deep financial quagmire in 2016 but was able to sustain her social protection programmes like O’ MEAL, OYES, building of schools, provision of soft loans and empowerment programmes for traders, provision of free ambulance services and treatment to accident victims and other programme.
“Over 38, 000 traders, business owners and small scale business owners have been empowered between 2014 and 2018. The social protection programmes of the Aregbesola’s administration are second to none in Nigeria. This is why Osun has lowest poverty rate in Nigeria.”