At least three million Nigerians have slipped into extreme poverty between November 2018 and February 2019.
According to the World Poverty Clock created by Vienna-based World Data Lab, 91.16 million Nigerians were living below a dollar a day as of February 13, 2019.
In June 2018, the Brookings Institution projected that Nigeria had overtaken India, as the poverty capital of the world, with 86.9 million extremely poor people.
This was further confirmed by the British Prime Minister Theresa May, who said Nigeria had become home to the largest number of very poor people in the world, putting the figures at 87 million.
“Much of Nigeria is thriving, with many individuals enjoying the fruits of a resurgent economy, yet 87 million Nigerians live below $1 and 90 cents a day, making it home to more very poor people than any other nation in the world,” the UK prime minister said.
Since May made this observation in South Africa in August, the number of Nigerians living in extreme poverty has grown to 91.16 million, with six people falling into poverty every minute, according to Brookings Institution.
Today, India has 48.7 million people living in poverty, from 73 million in June 2018. By implication, India has pulled out a minimum of 24 million people from poverty in less than eight months.
ARE YOU LIVING IN EXTREME POVERTY?
According to the World Bank, a person can be said to be living in extreme poverty, if they live below the poverty line of $1.90 or N693.5 per day.
The bank in its explanation of poverty levels said “when estimating poverty using monetary measures, one may have a choice between using income or consumption as the indicator of well-being”.
“Most analysts argue that, provided the information on consumption obtained from a household survey is detailed enough, consumption will be a better indicator of poverty measurement than income”.
However, using the World Bank’s poverty line, if you live below $1.90 a day, you will be classified as living in extreme poverty.
Going into the 2019 elections, the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari and his chief challenger Atiku Abubakar have employed Nigeria’s poverty narrative as a campaign tool.
While Buhari’s government claims it is a welfarist government that cares for the poor, Atiku’s team says Nigeria get poorer under the current administration.
Buhari, via the social investment programme has budgeted over N1 trillion in catering to the poorest in Nigeria, adding that it has the biggest social investment plan in Nigeria’s history.
Atiku, on the other hand, is reputed to be the biggest private employer of labour in his home state, Adamawa, playing on his business strength as a campaign strategy.
Both promise to lift many Nigerians out of poverty, without showing the Nigerian people how they intend to get this done. Buhari says he would take Nigeria to the next level, while Atiku says he means jobs and prosperity for Nigerians.
Theresa May in her African visit in 2018 said achieving inclusive growth is a challenge across the world, adding that Africa needs to create 50,000 new jobs per day to keep employment rate at its current level till 2035.
Whoever will get Nigeria out of poverty needs to drive inclusive growth in the country.
Source: Mayowa Tijani