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Presidency Slams World Bank, Says Nigeria Does Not Have 100 Million Destitute

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan

By Sunday Fase, Abuja

The Presidency has blasted the World Bank over its reports on poverty rate in Nigeria arguing that “Nigeria does not have 100 million destitute.”

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan

In a statement issued by Dr. Nwanze OKIDEGBE, Chief Economic Adviser to the President, the presidency insisted that the World Bank got its statistics adding that such figures do not represent the reality of the actual poverty rate in the country.

A statement by the World Bank Country Director, Marie-Francoise Marie-Nelly had said 100 Million Nigerians are living in destitution or extreme poverty, a statement that angered the presidency.

Dr Okidegbe, in the statement issued on Sunday and made available to African Examiner, argued that the World Bank country director clearly contradicts the position of the World Bank on the level of poverty in Nigeria recalling that during the visit of the Bank’s Vice President for Africa, Makhtar Diop, in May 2013, he declared that poverty has fallen under Jonathan’s administration from 48 percent to 46 percent.

He added that “given our current population of about 170 million people, the Country Director’s imagery of 100 million Nigerian destitute seems to be based on a much higher poverty rate than that of her boss. The question that arises from this absurdity therefore is: who is right?”

“According to the World Bank itself, to live in extreme poverty is to live on less than $1.25 per day, including the cost of accommodation, clothing, feeding, and other incidentals. $1.25 per day translates into N200 per day (or N6,000 per month). On feeding alone, a loaf of bread costs more than N200 in many parts of Nigeria while a plate of food, even from a roadside food vendor, costs about the same amount. More also, there are about 112 million active GSM lines in Nigeria.” Dr Okidegbe explained

He continued:

“Even accounting for those who own more than one phone and netting out nearly 44 percent of Nigerians who are under 15 years (and mostly do not have phones), this is not a description of a country with 100 million destitutes living in extreme poverty.

“This administration is undertaking critical reforms in all key sectors of the economy to create jobs and reduce poverty. For example, the reforms in the agricultural sector have increased production and created many job opportunities. In recognition of the fact that growth in the Agricultural Sector is pro-poor, we are confident that the consistent growth being recorded in agriculture is translating into further poverty reduction.

“Indeed, Nigeria was recently honoured for meeting the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of reducing people living in absolute hunger by half, well ahead of the 2015 target set by the United Nations.

“On average, about 20 percent of the Subsidy Reinvestment Programme (SURE-P) is allocated exclusively to protecting the poor through different types of social safety nets. One important area of success is the Conditional Grant Scheme with total conditional cash transfer to almost 40,000 households and recruitment of over 2,000 new health workers working on improving maternal and child health.

“Rather than engage in peddling easily disprovable and inaccurate poverty numbers, we believe it would be a better for the World Bank to focus its attention on designing programmes and interventions to support the government’s efforts in accelerating poverty reduction in Nigeria.”

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1 Comment for “Presidency Slams World Bank, Says Nigeria Does Not Have 100 Million Destitute”

  1. Any right-thinking and objective Nigerian would know that the World Bank is close to being accurate, if not completely accurate, in its assessment of Nigeria. The poverty rate in the country is very high and one need to go on the streets in Nigeria to observe this. The president is not doing anything to curb corruption and misappropriation of government funds. Stell Oduah is a good and recent example of this. If the president wants to disprove this finding, he should start paying the minimum wage of N18,000 that everyone has been clamoring for. Eradicate corruption and keep our youths in school and improve the economy, then talk, Mr. President.

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