The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed has said that excruciating poverty in Nigeria was responsible for widespread insecurity. She made this known while delivering the convocation lecture of Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA) Kaduna.

In her 19th convocation lecture at NDA, Ahmed said there was a near-global consensus among world leaders, policy experts and academics that the fight against poverty was essential to ensuring global peace, security and stability. “These mutually reinforcing phenomena have been coined the ‘doom spiral’; poverty is both a cause of insecurity and an outcome of it,” she added.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, then known as Federal Office of Statistics, about 15 per cent of the population was poor by 1960, rising to 28 per cent in 1980.

The latest report from Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) shows that the incidence of poverty rose by 10 per cent between 2019 and 2020. In the October 2020 report, NECA said the number of citizens in extreme poverty stood at 102 million representing 50 per cent of Nigeria’s estimated population of 205 million.

NBS reported a 40 per cent poverty rate in 2019. The World Bank also said in June this year that 11 million additional Nigerians would fall into extreme poverty by 2022.

Managing Director, Financial Derivatives Company (FDC) Limited and a member of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Economic Advisory Council (EAC), Mr Bismarck Rewane said recently that Nigeria remained the poverty capital of the world. However, on the negative side, the FDC boss listed some developments that should worry Nigerians, including the falling of total capital importation to $875.62 million in Q2’21, from $1.91 billion in Q1’21, and the crashing of the parallel market rate to N526/$ on Foreign Exchange (FX) supply shortages.

According to him, Nigeria’s second quarter year on year positive Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has yet to have a significant impact on socio-economic conditions.

“Fastest growing sectors were the most impacted by the [COVID-19] shutdown. They are job-elastic and have the potential to boost productivity. Real GDP (2.7 per cent) is still below potential GDP (8.3 per cent). The economy is still in a recessionary gap. Population (3.2 per cent) growing faster than GDP.

“Nigeria still the poverty capital of the world: 93.9 million people now live below the poverty line. Youth unemployment is fast approaching 45 per cent. Misery in- dex is 50.68 per cent. Nigeria [is] a hunger alert hotspot, according to FAO and WFP. Over 18,000 Nigerians are seeking asylum. Health sector brain drain rising (e.g. about 500 doctors moving to Saudi Arabia),” he said.

Official statistics revealed that Nigeria’s economic growth averaged 0.70 per cent from 2015 to 2020. Nigeria was not on the top 10 list of fastest growing economies in Africa during the period.


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