Poverty, Direct Cause of Insecurity, Says Finance Minister – THISDAY Newspapers
Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed has declared that a direct relationship exists between governance, poverty, and insecurity, stressing that poverty is a direct cause of insecurity.
She pointed out that insecurity in turn further exacerbates poverty and impacts governance.
Delivering the 19th convocation lecture of the The Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), titled, “The Governance, Security, and Development Nexus in Nigeria: Innovative Financing as an Essential Enabler,” yesterday noted that there was a near-global consensus among world leaders, policy experts and academics that the fight against poverty was essential to ensuring global peace, security and stability.
“These mutually reinforcing phenomena have been coined the ‘doom spiral’; poverty is both a cause of insecurity and an outcome of it,” she added.
The finance minister pointed out that any discourse on the link between poverty, security and development must be situated within the current context.
According to her, the federal government recognises that peace, justice, and accountable institutions were critical to the achievement of Nigeria’s sustainable development agenda.
She, therefore, observed that the challenge was clear, adding that the biggest priority for African nations, including Nigeria, was to address the root causes of insecurity, and strengthen governance.
The minister submitted that to guarantee sustainable development, peace and stability, Nigeria must rise and tackle poverty decisively.
Signaling the importance of this, she noted that the federal government made it a national priority to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.
She said: “We recognise therefore that peace, justice, and accountable institutions are critical to the achievement of Nigeria’s sustainable development agenda.
“Therefore, the challenge is clear, the biggest priority for African nations including Nigeria is to address the root causes of insecurity, and strengthen governance.
“To guarantee sustainable development, peace, and stability, Nigeria must rise and tackle poverty decisively. Signaling the importance of this, the Federal Government has made it a national priority to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next ten years.”
She identified good governance and security as critical enabling factors for sustainable development, adding that in the absence of security, the governance structures in a nation are vulnerable to collapse, thus undermining sustainable development.
The minister said the goal of attaining sustainable development across the African continent is further distilled in Agenda 2063, the African Union’s masterplan for the transformation of the continent.
According to her, the first aspiration of the Agenda was a prosperous Africa marked by inclusive growth and sustainable development with the second and third aspirations referencing a desire for good governance, peace and security.
She affirmed that these continental and global commitments to which Nigeria is a signatory align with the federal government’s short to medium-term development plans, which centre on economic, social and environmental sustainability issues.
Ahmed said: “Yet, with sustainable development as the goal, several underlying conditions in our domestic environment must be established and maintained. Governance, specifically good governance, and security are critical enabling factors for sustainable development.”
The minister explained that the concept of security is much easier to grasp as it affects the well-being of individuals, families, communities, and nation states.
However, she added that it extends beyond the safeguarding of lives and property to the protection of computer systems and networks from cyber-attacks and the use of resilient and flexible strategies to respond to the unconventional tactics of asymmetrical warfare.
She stressed that a consensus has emerged recognising security as a precondition for sustainable development, adding that defence and security agencies are an intrinsic and essential element of the governance structure of any nation with the level of security determining the sustainability of development.
The minister said: “In the absence of security, the governance structures in a nation are vulnerable to collapse, thus undermining sustainable development. Thus, security and good governance are foundational and fundamental to the attainment of sustainable development.
“They form a critical part of the super-structure on which economic growth and development can be achieved in any country.”
The minister noted that Nigeria’s economy, like others, was not spared from the dual impact of the COVID-19 health crisis and the drop in crude oil prices, as well as the consequent disruptions to economic activity globally.
Even with what has been achieved so far, she regretted that the sobering reality was that the pandemic has had a significant global impact on financing for sustainable development, with domestic and external financing remaining insufficient, particularly for developing economies.
She lamented that the levels of financing available both domestically, externally from donors, and other partners, and the current mechanisms for mobilising and utilising them were insufficient to meet the nation’s development agenda, noting that it was clear in the current context of dwindling resources that countries must innovate and find other avenues to sustainably finance their development agendas.
Ahmed said: “We must all therefore look beyond short-term solutions, and work towards sustainability, addressing the long-standing challenge of domestic revenue mobilisation, and leverage innovative financing as an essential enabler for sustainable and inclusive growth.”