FG to establish Trust Fund for poor Nigerians — Minister

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, has disclosed that the Federal Government would establish a Presidential Humanitarian and Poverty Alleviation Trust Fund.

Dr. Edu made the disclosure in Abuja on Thursday when she hosted members of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

“We want the issue of humanitarian response and poverty alleviation to be the top priority on our list. We would also need lots of financial help in terms of supporting programmes, processes, and helping with implementation,” she added.

She attributed the humanitarian crises across the country to natural and human-induced disasters, hence the need for intervention.

“We have a huge task on our hands. As we speak now, more than 16 million Nigerians are affected by humanitarian crises – either man-made or natural disasters.

While praising the Melinda Gates Foundation for supporting humanitarian causes in Africa, the minister urged it to sustain the tempo.

“We know what Bill Gates and Melinda Gates Foundation stands for in their support to African countries. Their support of poverty alleviation, healthcare, and other humanitarian crises has been almost unmatched.

“We believe that you can extend that right hand of fellowship to the ministry and Nigerians by extension,” she added.

Mrs Edu expressed optimism about the federal government`s determination to support vulnerable Nigerians affected by the humanitarian crises in the country through different interventions.

Jeremie Zoungrana, the Country Director of the foundation, assured the minister of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s readiness to work closely with the ministry to support Nigeria`s efforts at tackling the major humanitarian crises in the country.

Mr Zoungrana also expressed the foundation`s desire to engage with the different stakeholders in the sector to achieve the set objectives.

“The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation works in different humanitarian areas and I believe this will contribute to the minister`s mission especially considering that one of our areas of support is halth.

“This is because we want everybody to live a healthy and productive life. When you are not happy you will not be productive.

“When you are productive you will not be poor. So, we want to make sure that we provide opportunities for everyone to contribute and the opportunities will reduce poverty,” he added.

According to him, the foundation will be interested in making investments in creating economic opportunities to reduce poverty through agriculture, financial inclusion, and digital innovation.

“We do understand that the humanitarian and poverty alleviation issues are very important areas and we have taken note of the areas in terms of the need for technical assistance to be able to set the agenda for what we can do as a programme to the ministry,” he noted.

He commended the minister for engaging with critical stakeholders with a view to providing support to the needy.





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