It is estimated that about 70.92 million Nigerians are in extreme poverty, according to the World Poverty Clock. The figure translates to 11 per cent of the world’s extreme poor. This means that, at least, one out of every 10 extremely poor people lives in Nigeria.
It would be recalled that the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said earlier in its report that over 133 million Nigerians are multidimensionally poor.
Professor Sulaiman Adesina Yusuf of the Department of Agriculture Economics, University of Ibadan, related the statistics yesterday in Abuja in his presentation at a one-day public lecture.
The lecture was organised by the Federal Cares Unit of the Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) programme. Yusuf, who was the guest lecturer, said Nigeria ranks 163 out of 191 countries in 2021 on the Human Development Index (HDI), and 109 out of 125 countries in 2023 on the Global Hunger Index.
Yusuf said this was not only unacceptable for a country that hopes to compete on the global stage but also called for concern from policymakers.
While acknowledging efforts made by successive administrations in the country to fund intervention programmes, he said the major challenge has been the lack of political will on the part of the government to fund the programme fully.
The don called for the passage of the Social Protection Bill to generate the political commitment for social protection at the federal and state levels as well as realign the allocation of resources to scale up social protection.
Earlier, the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Atiku Bagudu, commended the work NG-CARES is doing to lift Nigerians out of poverty. He said the current administration was very passionate about poverty alleviation, a reason President Tinubu, a few weeks ago, directed a wholesale review of the national social protection scheme.
“Much as you think we have achieved progress, there is a lot that remains to be done,” he said. He promised that the federal government would do all within its power and available resources to ensure that the sad tales of poverty were reversed. (The Guardian)