UNICEF to commit $270 million to support poverty alleviation in Nigeria

FILE PHOTO: A UNICEF logo is pictured outside their offices in Geneva

By Felix Onuah

ABUJA (Reuters) - The United Nations children's agency, UNICEF, plans to commit $270 million to Nigeria's humanitarian and poverty alleviation efforts and pledged to help set up an emergency operation centre, its executives said on Tuesday.

The government of President Bola Tinubu wants to lift 133 million citizens out of poverty, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation Betta Edu told UNICEF executives Christian Munduate and Eduardo Celades at a meeting in Abuja.

Edu did not provide a timeline for achieving the target.

UNICEF said the agency will support the establishment of a humanitarian emergency operation centre that will help monitor, mitigate and prevent emergencies, and also help the ministry build capacity for its staff.

Edu said the government will target about 71 million "extremely poor Nigerians" who live on less than $1.95 a day because "time is of essence."

"We need to run at the speed of light to roll out social programs that will bring relief to the burdens of the poor," she said.

Africa's largest economy is struggling with record debt, unemployment, and insecurity that have contributed to years of anaemic growth.

Sluggish growth, low human capital, labour market weaknesses, and exposure to shocks are holding Nigeria’s poverty reduction efforts back, the World Bank said in report last year.

(Reporting by Felix Onuah; Writing by Elisha Bala-Gbogbo; Editing by Sandra Maler)