The Oasis Reporters
February 18, 2017
By the end of 2015, 55.75 million Chinese people lived in poverty. The nation still has 14 poor regions, 832 poor counties, and 128,000 poor villages. It will be a hard task to help the remaining poor, as they live in deep poverty and lack self-development capacity. And it will become increasingly difficult and costly. But there is no time to lose. To eliminate extreme poverty by 2020, 10 million people have to be lifted out of poverty each year.
The government has set a target to lift all rural poor people and poor counties out of poverty by 2020 during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020), as part of the goal to build a well-off society. In November 2015, it released the decision on winning the fight against poverty, providing a roadmap for poverty reduction and calling for mobilization of all resources to win the anti-poverty war.
In the next five years, China will pursue targeted poverty alleviation policies and strive to reduce poverty through development of industries, labor migration, relocation, and minimum living standards guarantee scheme. The government will increase fiscal spending and financial support, strengthen land policy, mobilize private resources, and create a favorable environment. It also focuses on defining poverty alleviation responsibilities of governments at all levels, developing a rigorous monitoring and evaluation system, and establishing an exit mechanism for poor counties.
By taking these and other actions, China is working hard to achieve its goal of eliminating extreme poverty by 2020.
What impresses the most from these are :
1. China has 4% poverty rate compared to Nigeria’s 65% yet China makes anti poverty war a priority while Nigeria makes anti corruption war a priority.
2. The main thrust of the policy is Assisted Labour Migration and Relocation away from the subsistence farms to nearby cities while Nigerian politicians are singing ‘Back to Farm’
3. China is strengthening land policy for mobilization of private ownership, Nigeria is still using the land use act which vests all land ownership in the Governor of a state.
4. The government defines poverty alleviation interventions for all levels of government up to the county governments (our Local Government equivalent) while we don’t even have functional LGs talk less of defining responsibilities of poverty alleviation for them.
5. China sets up rigorous evaluation and monitoring procedure to ensure that they measure that at least 10 million people are successfully lifted out of poverty each year while Nigeria has no means to measure and track progress.
In fact, if you say this government is not tracking well, many uncritical supporters of government are quick to answer that there’s nothing to track because of ‘the damage of the past 16 years by the previous administration.
Yet wisdom is known by its fruits. Let’s learn from others.
Lekan Latubosun is a Production Engineer with bias for economic issues.