Nigeria’s Poverty ‘Ranking’


A recent report by the World Poverty Clock (WPC), created by a German-funded Vienna-based NGO, World Data Lab in 2017, shows that at the end of May, 2018, Nigeria, the 7th most populous nation on earth, had emerged as the country with the highest number of people sliding into extreme poverty, overtaking the 2nd most populous nation, India with a population of 1, 354,051,854.
The WPC, a tool used to monitor real-time progress against poverty globally, by updating data from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook, indicated that “At the end of May, 2018, our trajectories suggest that Nigeria had about 87million people in extreme poverty, compared with India’s 73million. What is more, extreme poverty in Nigeria is growing by six people every minute, while poverty in India continues to fall.”
Although the World Poverty Clock figure appears devastating, the National Bureau of Statistics had painted a worse picture in 2016, when it reported that no fewer than 112million Nigerians live below the poverty line. The 2018 WPC data show that 86.9miilion (22.54per cent) of 195, 875,237 Nigerians are extremely poor, living about 187,185,237 (77.46per cent) above the poverty line.
These painful statistics on Nigeria’s failure to win the fight against poverty are coming despite the fact that in the last 10 years, the country made about $484billion (approximately N150trillion) revenue from crude oil sales going by the current exchange rate of N305/$1. According to Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), the nation produced about 8billion barrels of crude oil between 2008 and 2017, which translate to about $484billion in accruable revenue. Out of this sum, the Muhammadu Buhari administration received $104.484 billion in earnings from sale of 2.126 billion barrels of crude oil between 2015 and 2017.
However, The Tide notes that the 2018 IMF World Poorest Countries in GDP Growth and Per Capita Ranking, places Nigeria at 20th, with India at 19, Ghana at 18 and Kenya at 17, among 126 poorest countries in the world. The Top 10 World Poorest Countries are DR Congo, Mozambique, Uganda, Tajikistan, Haiti, Ethiopia, Yemen, Uzbekistan, Tanzania and Kyrgyzstan, in that order.
Without mincing words, the WPC figure is unfortunate and unacceptable given Nigeria’s huge natural and human resource endowments. We believe that if political leaders had judiciously managed the $484billion revenue from crude oil, $15billion would have been deployed to fix infrastructure yearly over the next 33 years, thereby drastically eliminating the vulnerability of Nigerians to the scourge of extreme poverty.
The Tide notes that Nigeria’s extreme poverty index is exacerbated by the glaring disconnect between available resources and observed growth and development, which now forces six Nigerians to slide into poverty and squalor every minute. We think that the Buhari-led Federal Government has not done enough to rescue vulnerable Nigerians from abject poverty. The failure of the Buhari’s administration to invest in pro-people, quick-win infrastructural projects aimed at bridging the yawning gaps in the basic personal needs of Nigerians, such as food, clothing and shelter is to say the least, disappointing.
Although Nigeria’s GDP Growth stood at 5.5per cent in 2013, 6.2per cent in 2014, 2.8per cent in 2015, -1.6 per cent in 2016, and 0.8per cent in 2017, we reckon that the 2018 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Growth Rate of 2.5per cent against the world benchmark of 3.4per cent and the citizens average GDP Per Capita of $2,216.672 is abysmally low, and should be accelerated through pragmatic policies and programmes designed to fast-track investors’ confidence and economic recovery.
We challenge the Federal Government to address itself to the principles of democracy so as to ensure good governance, respect the rule of law, follow due process and show serious commitment to the protection of lives and property of Nigerians, while also encouraging investments to revive industries and boost manufacturing. We also urge the government to go beyond its blame game strategy and show actual commitment to tackling the menace of insecurity and killings across the country without which extreme poverty thrives.
For the nation to move forward now, the Buhari administration must fix the poor education and health systems, improve on infrastructures, fight all forms of corruption and initiate progressive reforms for sustainable development. This way, the vulnerability of Nigerians to extreme poverty would be checked, and more of the 22.45 per cent already struggling below poverty line would reduce.