By Chuks Ekpeneru
A new report by the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association, NECA, has revealed that an estimated 102 million Nigerians are extremely poor.
The figure represents 50 per cent of Nigeria’s estimated population of about 205 million.
It indicates a 10 percentage point rise in the number of the extreme poor in the country against the 2019 report of the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS.
NBS in October 2019 stated that 40 per cent of Nigerians were extremely poor.
The report by NECA comes at the backdrop of the World Bank forecast that global extreme poverty is expected to rise in 2020 for the first time in over 20 years as the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic compounds the forces of conflict and climate change, which were already slowing down progress in poverty reduction efforts around the world.
According to the Financial Vanguard, people living in extreme poverty in Nigeria now stands at 15 percent of the total number of people living in extreme poverty world-wide as revealed in the NECA report.
NECA Acting President, Taiwo Adeniyi, said: “With COVID-19, the figure could only be imagined. It is practically impossible to separate unemployment from poverty. The longer people stay out of employment or any reasonable means of income, the higher the rate of poverty.
“Two years after it was reported that Nigeria had surpassed India as the nation with the highest number of people living in extreme poverty across the world, the country’s poverty ranking continues to surge.”
“The World Poverty Clock, a web tool based on World Data Lab’s global poverty model, estimated in June 2018 that 86.9 million Nigerians are living on less than $1.90 a day. That number has increased by over 15 million in the past two years, according to new figures published by World Data Lab on May 26, 2020,” Adeniyi said.
The NBS in a report about poverty and inequality from September 2018 to October 2019, had said 40 per cent of people in the continent’s most populous country live below its poverty line of N137,430 ($381.75) a year. It said that represents 82.9 million people.
“In Nigeria, 40.1 per cent of total population were classified as poor. In other words, on average, four out of 10 individuals in Nigeria has real per capita expenditures below N137,430 ($352) per year,” it added.