The economist, Dr. Boniface Chizia, said that lack of economic productivity is the reason most Nigerians live in poverty.
Chizea made the revelation to the DAILY POST on Friday while reacting to the latest National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, Multidimensional Poverty Index, MPI, report.
In perspective, the report released on Thursday revealed that 133 million, 65 percent of Nigerians live in poverty.
The report’s findings stem from the level of deprivation experienced by Nigerians in the areas of health, education, security and employment.
More information about the data Sokoto, Bayelsa, Gombe and Kebbi states ranked highest in the poverty index. However, Ondo State ranks lowest in MPI with 27%, and Sokoto ranks highest with 91%.
Also, in terms of area, the northern part of Nigeria has a poverty rate of 65% compared to 45% in the south.
Responding to the report, Chizea said that historically part of Nigeria’s problem has been what has been referred to as “Dutch disease”, meaning that the country has performed poorly due to its over-reliance on a single resource (crude oil).
He said, “We should not be surprised that the National Bureau of Statistics has estimated the country’s multidimensional poverty index at around 133 million people representing 65% of the Nigerian population. This data confirms what most of us already feel and suspect.
“My position on indicator reliability is that we should drink into the habit of dispensing with NIs with such specific responsibilities for producing targeted data by giving them the benefit of the doubt. We should expect them to be professionals in performing such tasks as there will never be reasons for them not being Therefore, there is no need to argue with the numbers and the main centers of poverty in the country as shown in the report.
The reason for this situation is not far fetched. This is directly due to the lack of productivity in the economy. All it takes is remembering that official data on gross domestic product (GDP) is less than 3% annually. When your population growth rate is higher than your GDP as a nation, you are on the fast track to entrenching poverty in the land.
“The reasons why we don’t have economic productivity are well rehearsed. It is partly historical, even if it is unfavorable to contemporary developments, Covid 19 and the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.
“Historical reasons are largely due to what is commonly referred to as ‘Dutch disease’. This is a situation where countries with natural endowments do poorly due to improper focus on resources from this single source. We have been aware in Nigeria that since 1986 We put in place the Structural Adjustment Program (SAP), which was the sole impetus for diversifying the country so that it could also accrue revenue from non-oil sources.But even though we had an expertly formulated program, we needed more implementation, and that is briefly the problem. Today we all collectively bemoan our failure in this regard.
“Another area of problem we had was wrong policy choices. We have a natural talent for fossil fuels but we can’t improve what we consume. We’ve imported all the refined products we’ve consumed and ended up not recouping the cost of importing over many years. The subsidies we paid for were inflated. Control because it has become a cesspool for endemic corruption.In short, this explains why we are so elusive as a country of productivity, among other branch reasons.
“There are also those who think that we should have floated the naira to allow the market to determine the exchange rate. But the basic problem is that you don’t have a market in this regard in the country. What kind of market is there in which there is only one dominant supplier with an insatiable volume of orders? For those of us who have been around for some time, there is no way to experiment that we haven’t tried, only to get around the drawdown as the fact of declining exchange rate is staring us in. There is no doubt that a Naira float will be on the cards once we are in a position to significantly reduce demand from During, for example, the termination of fuel imports.
“What needs to be done is well known. We need the political will to enact the strategies we have dutifully outlined. We hope that the 2023 elections will unleash the long-awaited paradigm change. This change that we are all waiting for must inculcate nascent primordial values that will make our leaders selfless.” While avoiding corruption with all its ramifications as the country’s future is prioritized while they lead national affairs,” he said.
Lack of economic productivity is the reason most Nigerians live in poverty – Expert