World Bank, in its ‘A Better Future for All Nigerians: 2022 Nigeria Poverty Assessment’ report, disclosed that the number of Nigerians that would plunge into poverty by the end of this year would hit 95.1 million.
While warning that many non-poor Nigerians are only one small shock away from falling into poverty, the Washington-based lender lamented that since President Muhammadu Buhari was first elected into the office of president of Nigeria in 2015, there has been no improvement in the poverty crisis in the country.
According to World Bank, poverty reduction stagnated since 2015, with more Nigerians falling below the poverty line over the years.
Quoting its economists -Jonathan Lain and Jakob Engel, World Bank said rising inflation, persistent population growth, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the war in Ukraine are threatening Nigeria’s poverty reduction aspiration.
“Nigeria’s aspiration to lift all of its people out of poverty by 2030 presents a serious challenge. Even before COVID-19, four in 10 Nigerians lived below the national poverty line – some 80 million people.
“The global pandemic, rising inflation, and ongoing uncertainty related to the war in Ukraine – combined with relentless population growth – have made Nigeria’s poverty-reduction goals more challenging than ever,” the economists were quoted.
Can Buhari truly lift Nigerians out of poverty?
With the factors identified by the World Bank economists, Buhari’s aspiration to lift Nigerians out of poverty has no doubt been met with a major blow.
It would be recalled that in June last year, the President inaugurated the National Steering Committee of the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
This, he said, re-echoes his commitment to lifting 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 the Special Adviser to the President 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.”