Despite Economic Growth, 40% of Nigerians Still Live Below Poverty Line, Says Budget Minister Bagudu

Despite Economic Growth, 40% of Nigerians Still Live Below Poverty Line, Says Budget Minister Bagudu

Nigeria’s Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Senator Abubakar Bagudu, on Thursday, said in spite of the country’s significant strides in economic growth in recent times, millions of Nigerians still experience multidimensional poverty. 

Bagudu said the country faces unique challenges in addressing poverty considering its diverse population and regions.

Speaking at the opening of a one-day high-level stakeholders’ dialogue on operationalising the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) in Nigeria, Bagudu said recent figures indicate that about 40 per cent of Nigerians live below the poverty line.

He stated, “When we apply the MPI, this percentage often reveals deeper, multidimensional aspects of deprivation.”

The minister said Nigeria’s MPI bring many concerns together into one headline measure and focused on people who were being left behind in multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the same time.

He said government had positioned the index to play a pivotal role in the hands of discerning stakeholders, including policymakers at various levels of government, the academia, civil society, and the public. 

Bagudu said the federal government will continue to support the implementation of the MPI through the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy (NPRGS) and implementation of the eight-priority areas of the President Bola Tinubu administration.

He said the operationalisation of the MPI was a clarion call to action for stakeholders to embrace a holistic approach to poverty reduction – one that recognised the interlinked deprivations affecting millions of Nigerians.

He said by “leveraging the MPI, we can craft informed, targeted, and effective policies that address the root causes of poverty and promote sustainable development. 

“Let us commit to this transformative journey with determination and unity. Together, we can create a Nigeria where every individual has the opportunity to thrive, where no one is left behind, and where the dream of prosperity and well-being becomes a reality for all.”

According to him, the MPI is one of the in-flight projects of the NPRGS that was launched in 2021. 

The 10-year programme was created as part of the federal government’s efforts to intensify its commitment towards eradicating extreme poverty in the country, and accelerating a steady human capital growth.

He said the programme aims to sustain the reduction in poverty through economic growth and consistent implementation of social protection programmes. 

Bagudu further explained that the MPI was launched in 2022 as a frontline effort of the government to create an evidence-based, data-driven strategy for achieving the mandate of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in a decade. 

The index remains a transformative tool that goes beyond traditional income-based measurement of poverty. 

It was developed through the collaborative efforts of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), and other key stakeholders.

It recognises that poverty encompasses various deprivations experienced by people in their daily lives, and considers dimensions such as education, health, and living standards, offering a more comprehensive picture of poverty.

The minister pointed out that the MPI provided a nuanced understanding of poverty’s complexity. 

He said, “By measuring factors, such as access to clean water, electricity, schooling, and healthcare, we can identify specific areas where interventions are needed, ensuring that no one is left behind.”

In his remarks, Statistician-General of the Federation (SGF)/Chief Executive, NBS, Prince Adeyemi Adeniran, said the dialogue had the potential to significantly shape the country’s approach to tackling multidimensional poverty. 

Adeniran said the MPI will also ensure that policymakers had the tools they needed to succeed in tackling multidimensional poverty amid current efforts in the fight against poverty. 

He said the meeting sought to build on the success of the 2022 MPI survey by ensuring that the data was used for the benefit of the citizens. 

He also stressed the need to invest in continuous training and technical capacity building of personnel to be able to produce these results across the board. 

Adeniran said, “It also requires devoting the necessary and adequate resources to produce the data in a timely and sustainable manner, so that the government will have the appropriate tools to effectively monitor and track the impact of the interventions, and where necessary design new interventions to address any lapses. 

“While this means more resources from the government side, it also necessitates, more donor support and assistance, both financially and technically. 

“While we acknowledge the support already provided by both government and partners, we appeal for more to meet this mandate and task ahead of us.”

James Emejo

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