The Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), Mr. Tony Elumelu has expressed confidence that President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty “is laudable and possible, though ambitious.”
President Buhari had at the June 12 Democracy Day commemoration in Abuja said that his administration can lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.
Buhari added that despite the positive growth in the economy, his administration “is mapping out policies to ensure that the country’s GDP grows by 2.7 percent in 2019….With leadership and a sense of purpose, we can lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.”
Tony Elumelu, shortly after he was conferred with an Honorary Degree in Business Administration at the convocation of the Bayero University, Kano (BUK) on Saturday, said that with the right resolve accompanied by concrete action, Buhari could lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty. He said:
“I am sure we took note of President Buhari’s commitment to lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty. This is laudable, ambitious, but indeed very possible with the right resolve accompanied by concrete actions.”
To realise this commitment, Elumelu challenged the federal government “to abolish multiple taxes on small businesses; ease the operating environment for these employment generators by making business registration easier; prioritise training and development and entrench the rule of law.”
He equally challenged the federal government “to create industrial, technology and agric zones for industries to thrive. We all also need peace and security.
“We, the private sector and those with means, should invest in our young ones in a manner that creates social and economic returns, which is the philosophy driving the TEF.”
Elumelu, chairman of Heirs Holdings and United Bank for Africa Plc, acknowledged that he had met a lot of bright, enterprising and hopeful young Nigerians, who graduated from the Bayero University, Kano.
He, therefore, noted that occasions like this gave him optimism about the future in Nigeria, thereby congratulating all 10,000 graduates and fellow conferees at the convocation.
On this note, Elumelu announced his foundation’s plan to empower 1,000 northern youths, noting that under the empowerment scheme, each beneficiary would receive a sum of $5,000. He said:
“If only you had started talking earlier… It is never too late anyway. Your experience and insight will be highly valuable. We are empowering entrepreneurs all over Africa, but particularly in every nook and corner of Nigeria
“We already have entrepreneurs from the northern region of Nigeria. I was pleased to announce in my acceptance speech, a partnership with the UNDP, which will afford funding for another 1,000 entrepreneurs in the North and the wider Sahel region.”