Multi-dimensional poverty report in Akwa Ibom, real – Don

Multi-dimensional poverty report in Akwa Ibom, real – Don

A Professor of Development Economy, department of Agriculture Economics , University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Gabriel Umoh, had said based on the indices in the state, the report of Akwa Ibom being rated as the most multi- dimensionally poor state in the Niger Delta region is not far from the truth.

Recall that StatiSense, a data tech company,in it report which it drew largely from the NBS, 2022 report claimed that Akwa Ibom State has the largest number of multi-dimentional poverty in the Niger Delta Region

The report stated that the state has over 5.08million multi-dimentionally poor people, followed by Rivers with 4.4 m while Cross River comes next with 3.44 million people

Speaking with journalists in Uyo on Wednesday over the report, Prof Umoh noted that the private sector which is the greatest employer of labour is still very poor in the state, adding that the situation can be addressed if there are industries for production and for export.

According to him, “As a development economist, I can tell you that these statistics coming out are nothing but real or true.

“Employment can come from government and how many government institutions do we have? If Akwa Ibom could post a population of five to seven million, how many can the state employ. It can take only a small proportion.

“And these employment opportunities are not available from the state.The state has not opened up employment. If you go to government offices, some people are redundant. There is under employment.

“So what will provide employment opportunities is if you have industries–the private sector. And you see that the private sector in Akwa Ibom is very thin. If the real sectors that are producing were very vibrant, they would produce for consumption and for exports and as they produce they expand, then you can employ,” Umoh said.

Also speaking on the issue, the executive director of Policy Alert, a Civil Society Organisation, Mr Tijah Akpan, said the state has a lot to do in terms of multi-dimensional poverty which he noted covers diverse areas including access to sanitations, basic education and primary health care.

He, however, admitted that Akwa Ibom is not doing badly if one looks at income poverty alone noting that the current administration has taken some bold steps to address the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable groups in the state

Akpan-Bolton expressed concern that targeting of these groups has often been “defective, discretionary and unscientific, making it easy for what the government calls “compassionate programmes” including palliatives to be hijacked by political interests.

“This is one of the reasons we have been demanding for a State Statistical Agency. A law was passed sometime ago, but the agency has not yet been established.

“Another solution is to have the poor on the table when designing solutions for them. You don’t shave a man’s hair in his absence. Community representatives and civil society groups that work closely with them have a keener understanding of the location of the poor, their characteristics and their priorities. Government should work together with such groups. Finally, I think that government should prioritize the planning function.

“This may also be responsible for the kinds of discretional infrastructure projects we have seen in the past few years. The current administration started well by inviting public inputs into its ARISE agenda but it has to be more open with the outcomes of that process and involve the public especially civil society in tracking its implementation.”