Oxfam Nigeria, a non-profit organization, has urged the incoming government to take concrete steps to reduce hunger, alleviate poverty, and tackle discrimination in the country. In a statement released on Sunday, Vincent Ahonsi, Oxfam country director, expressed concern over the insufficient funds allocated to Nigeria’s education, health, and agricultural sectors.
Ahonsi emphasized the importance of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in building a fair and just economy and highlighted their significant contribution to Nigeria’s GDP, businesses, and employment. Citing data from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Ahonsi stated that SMEs in Nigeria accounted for 48 percent of national GDP, 96 percent of businesses, and 84 percent of employment. He called for the incoming government to prioritize creating an enabling environment for SMEs, providing technical support and training, and promoting networking and collaboration among SMEs to unlock their full potential.
Ahonsi also stressed the need to invest in education, health, and agriculture to address inequality and promote inclusive growth. He called for a minimum of 15 percent of the national budget to be allocated to the health sector and at least 10 percent to agriculture, with a focus on supporting women and youth in agricultural businesses. He further urged the development of a national agricultural investment plan that is gender-sensitive and climate-proof.
In addition, Ahonsi called for measures to generate more income and reduce revenue loss through taxation, including considering a “solidarity” tax on wealth, raising taxes on financial transactions, inheritance and gifts, and capital gains. He emphasized the need to prevent illicit financial flows and enforce diligence checks to discourage corrupt practices and ensure that funds are used for the benefit of the country.
Furthermore, Ahonsi highlighted the importance of tackling discriminatory laws against women and creating gender-equal laws to combat violence and discrimination. He called for policies that ensure the representation of women, people living with disabilities (PWDs), and other vulnerable groups in decision-making spaces across all sectors of society.
Oxfam Nigeria’s statement emphasized the urgent need for the incoming government to prioritize ending hunger, reducing inequality, and lifting Nigerians out of poverty. It called for robust measures to support SMEs, invest in education, health, and agriculture, generate more income through taxation, and promote gender equality. Oxfam Nigeria urged the incoming government to take decisive action to address these pressing issues and build a more inclusive and prosperous Nigeria.