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Monday, May 29, 2017

POVERTY ALLEVIATION: Anambra Ranks High Among States In South-East

Anambra State has been ranked as the best state in the South East of Nigeria that has mapped out clear, comprehensive and implementable strategies to fight poverty in the country.

The ranking was unanimously agreed upon by participants at a regional dissemination workshop on pro-poor growth, unemployment and poverty in Nigeria organized by the Development Strategy Centre, Enugu, in partnership with African Economic Research Consortium and UKaid.

The participants were particularly impressed with the various measures put in place by the Anambra State government to fight poverty in the state using a solid agrarian policy and creation of enabling environment for economic growth and infrastructure development. They also commended the state government for the establishment of the state Investment Promotion and Protection Agency (ANSIPPA)  and the state Small Business Agency (ASBA) which, they identified, as agencies through which over fifteen thousand jobs have been created by direct foreign and local investments as well as granting of soft loans to small scale farmers and cooperatives.

Speaking at the workshop which theme was "Pro-poor growth, Poverty and Unemployment in Nigeria: the South East Challenge" the Secretary to the Anambra State Government (SSG) Prof Solo Chukwulobelu told the audience which included the former minister of power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo and who moderated the discussion session of the workshop, that the state government recognized quite early the enormous challenges posed by poverty and unemployment in the state.

He stated that it was for this reason that the Obiano administration, on assumption of office, developed a blueprint for rapid transformation of the state. Key on the blueprint, he said, was the pursuit of four pillars of development among which agriculture was number one. These pillars of development, which include: industrialization, trade and commerce and oil and gas, according to the Professor, are being propelled by twelve other enablers as security, education, health, youth entrepreneurship, infrastructure development, public utilities and environment.

Other initiatives employed by the state government as the SSG told the audience, include the establishment of ASBA which has empowered over 2000 small scale farmers and cooperatives by giving them soft loans and the establishment of a road maintenance agency that employs over 250 young men and women.

Earlier while presenting a study report carried out by the centre on poverty and unemployment challenges in the south east, the Managing Partner of the Centre, Mr Cosmas Ohaka identified lack of activist industrial policy, multiple taxation, poor leadership among others as factors responsible for the prevailing poverty in the South East. He recommended regional networking, revitalization of ailing industries and establishment of regional infrastructure as railways, energy and water provision as crucial to ending poverty and unemployment in the south east.

The moderator of the discussion segment of the workshop and former minister for power, Prof Chinedu Nebo commended the organizers of the workshop for the very instructive research work backed by invaluable information on the way forward to fight poverty and unemployment in the south east states of the country.

By Emeka Ohuoha.

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