Poverty level rises as economy ‘grows’, says agency

nigeria_divisionsN’West, N’East most affected

FROM the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has come worrisome announcement that poverty is on the rise in Nigeria with more than 100 million citizens earning less than $1 per day as the gap between the rich and the poor continues to widen.

 The Statistician General of the Federation, Dr. Yomi Kale who made the announcement in Abuja yesterday at a press briefing on “the Nigeria Poverty Profile 2010” said the bureau had reached this position after a research it conducted that covers “about 24 million households selected for sampling”, with more than 100 million Nigerians covered in the exercise.

Available figures indicate that, “in 2004, Nigeria’s relative poverty measurement stood at 54.4 per cent but increased to 69 per cent or 112,518,507 Nigerians in 2010. This is against the background that 38.7 per cent of this population are extremely poor. This is basically because agriculture and wholesale and retail trade which constitute the largest percentage used in measuring economic growth are not employment generating as people farm for subsistence, and retail trade are owned and run by families, thus not reducing poverty,” Kale said.

The statistician general further said that “using the relative, absolute and dollar-per-day poverty measures, NBS estimates that poverty may have further risen slightly to about 71.5 per cent, 61.9 per cent and 62.8 per cent respectively in 2011.” According to him, the survey suggests rising income inequality in the country as measured by the Gini-coefficient which indicated that income inequality rose greatly from 0.429 in 2004 to 0.447 in 2010.

Kale stated that though the research was conducted to reflect the situation in 2010, the projections done by the bureau indicate that the economic activities, standard of living and other such considerations have not changed with the year gone by.

“For completeness and to guide policy, NBS has also forecasted the poverty rate for 2011 using various economic models. It is important to stress at this point that these estimates are constrained by the assumption that status-quo in 2010 was maintained in 2011. Accordingly therefore, it ignores the potential positive impact various poverty alleviation strategies implemented may have had…”

While pointing out that the economy of the country is growing amidst the wails of poverty, Kale listed the two regions of the country most affected by poverty as North West and North East with South West being the better of all the regions in the country.

Kale said: “In 2004, Nigeria’s relative poverty measurement stood at 54.4 per cent but increased to 69 percent or 112,518,507 Nigerians in 2010. The North West and North East geo-political zones recorded the highest poverty rates in the country with 77.7 per cent and 76.3 per cent respectively in 2010, while the South-West geo-political zone recorded the lowest at 59.1 per cent”. Among the states, Sokoto had the highest poverty rate at 86.4 per cent while Niger had the lowest at 43.6 per cent in the year under review”.

The NSB boss pointed out that based on self assessment and personal sentiments, 93.9 per cent of Nigerians consider themselves as being poor in 2010, whereas 97.9 per cent of respondents in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT consider themselves to be poor. But the feeling is the same as the lowest by state percentage of people who consider themselves as poor is 90.5 per cent from Kaduna.

“It remains a paradox however that despite the fact that the Nigerian economy is growing, the proportion of Nigerians living in poverty is increasing every year,” Kale said.


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