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N3.7tn Enough To Tackle Poverty In Nigeria – World Bank

A publication by the International financial institution, World Bank, has revealed that it would cost Nigeria N3.7tn to tackle the issue of poverty.

Naija News reports that the poverty rate in Nigeria has been on the rise yearly. The financial institution, however, noted in its synthesis report for the Nigeria Country Economic Memorandum: Charting a New Course, which was released this month.

According to the World Bank, the N3.7tn stated in its report is lower than what the country splashed annually on petrol subsidies.

It noted that Nigeria has the potential and resources to accelerate growth and reduce poverty. The bank’s report said: “In a context of weakened economic growth, widespread poverty, deepening inequality, and political turbulence, realising the government’s ambition of lifting roughly 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030 is challenging.

“For instance, the poverty gap index—a measure of the minimum cost of eliminating poverty if transfers were perfectly targeted—shows that eliminating poverty in Nigeria would cost almost N3.7tn per year (World Bank, 2022c), lower than the amount the country currently spends on petrol subsidies. Removing distortions will allow Nigerians to benefit from their country’s immense wealth.”

World Bank noted in its newly released Nigeria Development Update that inflation pushed five million Nigerians into poverty between January and October this year.

Meanwhile, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its recent National Multidimensional Poverty Index report disclosed that 133 million Nigerians are multi-dimensionally poor.

The financial institution noted that 63 percent of Nigerians were poor due to a lack of access to health, education, living standards, employment, and security.

The rising poverty defies the government’s plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.

Last year, the World Bank Lead Economist for the Middle East and North Africa region’s Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Group, Tara Vishwanath, described the goal of the Nigerian president to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years as ambitious.

According to her, 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.

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