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Lai Mohammed Buhari's minister says FG is proud of reducing poverty in Nigeria

The minister said the federal government has achieved a lot despite battling a bad recession.

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Buhari's FG proud of reducing poverty in Nigeria - Lai Mohammed play The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, with President Muhammadu Buhari (Guardian)

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has praised the efforts of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government in reducing poverty in the country.

While speaking during an interview with TheCable, the minister said the government has had to fight against bad odds to alleviate poverty in the country.

Despite a recent report by the World Bank that estimated poverty to have "increased slightly" in Nigeria, Mohammed insisted that there are positives.

He said the federal government has empowered Nigerians by reducing inflation, creating jobs, specifically in the agricultural sector, and employing graduates and feeding school pupils through its social investment initiative.

He said, "If you come out of a recession, there is a lag period of about 10 to 12 months during which you may not be able to feel the effect of coming out of recession.

"When you come out of recession, it does not mean that every factory and industry will completely recover, no, but what we're proud to say is that all the indices are positive.

"Inflation has come down from 13.6% to 11.2% for the 16th consecutive month. We've created more than 6 million jobs in the agricultural sector alone. For us, those are jobs also.

"We employed 200,000 unemployed graduates in 2016 under our N-Power programme. We have embarked on what we called social investment programme through which we feed every day over eight million pupils in Nigeria.

"If that's not poverty reduction, I don't know what is poverty reduction."

Nigeria's slip and exit from recession

Nigeria slipped into its worst recession in 29 years after a 2.06% contraction in the economy between April and June 2016. Even though it happened a year after Buhari's inauguration, his administration has always blamed it on the mismanagement of previous administrations of the opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP).

The country officially exited recession in September 2017 when the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced that the gross domestic product (GDP) returned to positive growth as it grew by 0.55 percent in GDP terms for Q2 2017 after five consecutive quarters of contractions since Q1 2016.

Despite Nigeria's exit from recession, the World Bank projects GDP growth in 2018 to hover just over 2%, largely oil sector-driven.

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