Nigeria Exceeds its World Bank Poverty Projections
133 million Nigerians are classified as multidimensionally poor, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
NBS’s latest National Multidimensional Poverty Index report, released on Thursday, 63% of Nigerians are poor due to a lack of access to health, education, living standards, employment, and security.
The Multidimensional Poverty Index assesses poverty in multiple dimensions, identifying deprivations in health, education, living standards, work, and shocks.
Semiu Adeniran, the Federation’s Statistician-General and CEO of the NBS, stated that this was the first time the bureau would conduct a standard multidimensional poverty survey in Nigeria.
The survey was implemented in 2021 to 2022 and it is the largest survey with a sample size of over 56,610 people in 109 senatorial districts in the 36 states of Nigeria,” he said.
He added, “Unlike the Global MPI which uses three dimensions (Health, Education, and Living Standards), we added a fourth dimension, Work and Shocks in the 2022 MPI Survey. This fourth dimension as well as other added variables such as food security, water reliability, underemployment, security shocks, and school lag, were all added to reflect the current realities and priorities in Nigeria.”
The 133 million poor Nigerians recorded by the NBS exceeded the World Bank’s projection for Nigeria in 2022.
World Bank, which said that poverty reduction stagnated since 2015 under the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), projected that the number of poor Nigerians would hit 95.1 million in 2022.
This projection was made in its report titled, ‘A Better Future for All Nigerians: 2022 Nigeria Poverty Assessment.’
The report read, “The COVID-19 crisis is driving up Nigeria’s poverty rate, pushing more than five million additional people into poverty by 2022. With real per capita GDP growth being negative in all sectors in 2020, poverty is projected to have deepened for the current poor, while those households that were just above the poverty line prior to the COVID-19 crisis would be likely to fall into poverty.
“Were the crisis not to have hit (the counterfactual scenario), the poverty headcount rate would be forecast to remain virtually unchanged, with the number of poor people set to rise from 82.9 million in 2018/19 to 85.2 million in 2020 and 90.0 million in 2022, due largely to natural population growth.
“Given the effects of the crisis, however, the poverty headcount rate is instead projected to jump from 40.1 percent in 2018/19 to 42.0 percent in 2020 and 42.6 percent in 2022, implying that the number of poor people was 89.0 million in 2020 and would be 95.1 million in 2022. Taking the difference between these two scenarios, the crisis alone is projected to have driven an additional 3.8 million Nigerians into poverty in 2020, with an additional 5.1 million living in poverty by 2022.”
The rising poverty also defies the government’s plan to life 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.
In August 2019, Buhari said his regime would lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty between 2020 and 2030, which means that an average of 10 million Nigerians would be lifted out of poverty each year.
In June 2021, Buhari inaugurated the National Steering Committee of the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
This, he said, re-echoed his commitment to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years, with a well-researched framework for implementation and funding.
The President was quoted in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, as saying, “If India can lift 271 million people out of poverty between 2006 and 2016, Nigeria can surely lift 100 million out of poverty in 10 years. Fortunately, we have already started but we need to unlock the challenges of slow implementation, inappropriate targeting and absence of adequate resources.”
In October last year, the World Bank Lead Economist for the Middle East and North Africa region’s Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Group, Tara Vishwanath, had described the goal of the Nigerian President to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years as ambitious.
She said the ambitious goal could only be feasible if certain swift policies were put in place to provide opportunities in the labour market and boost investors’ confidence.
World Bank economists, Jonathan Lain and Jakob Engel, said in a blogpost on the bank’s website that rising inflation, persistent population growth, the COVID-19 pandemic and war in Ukraine were threatening Nigeria’s poverty reduction aspiration.
The NBS report further showed Sokoto, Bayelsa, Gombe, Jigawa and Plateau are the top poorest states in 2022.
Sokoto leads the poorest with 90.5 percent of people in the state poor. It is followed by Bayelsa with 88.5 percent poor people, Gombe with 86.2 percent, Jigawa with 84.3 percent, and Plateau with 84 percent.
The least poor states are Ondo with 27.2 percent poor people, Lagos with 29.4 percent, Abia with 29.8 percent, Edo with 31 percent, and Anambra with 32.1 percent.
The report said that 65 per cent of poor Nigerians (86 million) were in the North, while 35 percent (nearly 47 million) were in the South.
The report noted, “Overall, 65 percent of poor people – 86 million people – live in the North, while 35 percent – nearly 47 million – live in the South. In general, a disparity between North and South is evident in both the incidence and intensity of multidimensional poverty, with the North being poorer.
“However, the level and number of poor people need to be addressed in all zones – each of which is home to between 11 and 20 million poor people except North West, which has 45 million poor people due to its larger population and a higher level of poverty.”
It also noted that 72 percent of people in rural areas were poor. It is the same for 42 percent of people in urban areas.
The report read, “Multidimensional poverty is higher in rural areas, where 72 percent of people are poor, compared to 42 percent of people in urban areas. Approximately 70 percent of Nigeria’s population live in rural areas…
The NBS statistician-general also noted that the report covered poverty among children under five years of age in Nigeria.
He said, “The survey also has a linked Child MPI. This Child MPI extends the Nigeria MPI to include appropriate indicators for children under five, by adding a fifth dimension of child survival and development.
“This additional dimension contains eight vital aspects of early childhood development in physical and cognitive domains, including severe undernutrition, immunization, intellectually stimulating activities, and preschool.
“While it does not offer individual-level data, it uncovers additional children who, according to the extra dimension, should qualify as multidimensionally poor.”
The report noted that 83.5 percent of children under five years were poor in Nigeria due to a lack of intellectual stimulation needed for childhood development.
It noted that the total number of poor under-five children in Nigeria was 22.85 million.
The report read, “Children are a strategic population of concern in Nigeria for several reasons. First, nearly half of all Nigerians are children under the age of 18 (47.2 percent).
“According to the Child MPI, 83.5 percent of children under five are poor. The incidence of Child MPI is above 50 percent in all states and rises to almost 100 percent in some states.
“The highest deprivations are in the indicator of child engagement – showing that over half of the poor children lack the intellectual stimulation that is pivotal to early childhood development. Child poverty is prevalent in rural areas with almost 90 percent of rural children experiencing poverty.”
The report also stressed the need to address the issue of child marriage, which contributes to poverty for girls.