BUSI­NESS Nigeria: A rich coun­try with poor people?

Daily Trust - - ANALYSIS - By Hamisu Muham­mad

Within the last few days, there were two rat­ings on Nigeria. The first was from the World Bank Pres­i­dent, Mr Jim Yong Kim which placed Nigeria among the ex­tremely poor coun­tries. A few days later the federal govern­ment re­leased the re­bas­ing of the coun­try’s GDP which placed it as Africa’s big­gest econ­omy ahead of South Africa and 26th in the World.

These two rat­ings have gen­er­ated con­tro­versy and at­tracted sev­eral com­ments from within and out­side the coun­try. Depend­ing on how we look at the rat­ings, each has its ba­sis. In the first place, there is no doubt that Nigeria is blessed and its econ­omy is grow­ing fast based on avail­able in­dices and sta­tis­tics. Also, one can tes­tify to the fact that the econ­omy is grow­ing tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion the emerg­ing sec­tors such as en­ter­tain­ment, hous­ing and in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy in­dus­tries.

How­ever, at the same time the coun­try’s poverty rat­ing is also grow­ing and this can be tes­ti­fied based on both global rat­ing and the sit­u­a­tion on ground. Just as the econ­omy is boom­ing, poverty is also es­ca­lat­ing due to re­cent events such as high pop­u­la­tion, poor elec­tric­ity to sup­port small scale in­dus­try, im­por­ta­tion of all sorts of items from Asia that kill lo­cal in­dus­tries and the in­se­cu­rity in the north­ern part of the coun­try which has de­nied many people their means of busi­ness and liveli­hood.

The World Bank Pres­i­dent, who spoke last week at the Coun­cil on For­eign Re­la­tions (CFR)

Source: NBS in Wash­ing­ton, said that the global bank would deal with the ex­treme poverty in Nigeria and its coun­ter­parts in the com­ing years.

Ac­cord­ing to him: “The fact is that two-thirds of the world’s ex­treme poor are con­cen­trated in just five coun­tries: In­dia, China, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo. If you add an­other five coun­tries, In­done­sia, Pak­istan, Tan­za­nia, Ethiopia, and Kenya, the to­tal grows to 80 per cent of the ex­treme poor.”

Al­though Fi­nance Min­is­ter Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala didn’t to­tally dis­agree with the World Bank chief but she said the num­ber of poor people in a coun­try ir­re­spec­tive of the coun­try’s level of de­vel­op­ment was the pa­ram­e­ter used to rate Nigeria among na­tions with high poverty level.

Ac­cord­ing to her, the phe­nom­e­non of large num­ber of poor people is pe­cu­liar with mid­dlein­come coun­tries to which Nigeria be­longed.

``In­dia, a mid­dlein­come coun­try, one of the largest economies in the world like Nigeria, is a big econ­omy, but the largest num­ber of poor people in the world re­side in In­dia, China and other places.

``Most mid­dle-in­come coun­tries, in­clud­ing Brazil have large num­ber of poor people that is the re­al­ity of to­day and Nigeria is no ex­cep­tion,” she said.

Okonjo-Iweala said at the re­bas­ing of the GDP event that one of the key changes iden­ti­fied is the no­tice­able shift in the share of key sec­tors to the coun­try’s over­all GDP.

The re­bas­ing ex­er­cise was more com­pre­hen­sive than pre­vi­ous ones as the num­ber of eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties re­ported in the GDP com­pu­ta­tion frame­work in­creased to 46 com­pared to 33 in the pre­vi­ous se­ries. Other ac­tiv­i­ties which were in­cluded in the com­pu­ta­tion frame­work are en­ter­tain­ment, re­search, patents and copy­rights.

Re­port re­leased by the Na­tional Bureau of Sta­tis­tics in 2012 showed that de­spite the fact that the Nige­rian econ­omy is grow­ing, the pro­por­tion of Nige­ri­ans liv­ing in poverty is in­creas­ing ev­ery year as shown in the ac­com­pa­ny­ing ta­ble.

The pro­por­tion of the pop­u­la­tion liv­ing be­low the poverty line in­creased sig­nif­i­cantly from 1980 to 2004.

The above statistic cor­rob­o­rates the claims by the two par­ties that al­though Nigeria is rich and the econ­omy is grow­ing, still ma­jor­ity of its pop­u­la­tion are poor. These two sta­tis­tics have posed a great chal­lenge to the man­agers of the econ­omy. It is high time of­fi­cials stopped re­ly­ing on fig­ures but de­vise means to work hard and en­sure that the growth wit­nessed by the econ­omy is all in­clu­sive.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria

© PressReader. All rights reserved.