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No reliable statistics on Nigeria’s poverty rate – World Bank

By on October 5, 2012

The World Bank has said there is no reliable data with which to correctly measure the decline or increase in Nigeria’s poverty rate.

In a video press conference to mark the release of Africa’s Pulse, an analysis of issues shaping the continent’s economic future, the World Bank’s Chief Economist for the African region, Mr. Shanta Devarajan, said the poverty rate in the continent’s resource rich was reducing slower than in non-rich resource nations.

Answering a specific question on Nigeria’s poverty rate, Devarajan said the subject was very controversial and suggested that the country should invest more in the production of statistics that were reliable.

“We (World Bank) don’t know Nigeria’s poverty rate. We don’t know whether it is going up or coming down. There is a lot controversy surrounding it. There is need to invest in data,” he said.

The National Bureau of Statistics had in February released figures that showed that the nation’s poverty level was increasing. The report was mired in controversy as it was rejected by the Federal Government.

The Statistician-General of the Federation, Dr. Yemi Kale, had said, “It remains a paradox … that despite the fact that the Nigerian economy is growing, the proportion of Nigerians living in poverty is increasing every year.

“NBS estimates that this trend may have increased further in 2011 if the potential positive impacts of several anti-poverty and employment generation intervention programmes are not taken into account.”

According to him, the poverty rate in Nigeria may have risen to 71.5 per cent, 61.9 per cent, and 62.8 per cent using the relative, absolute and dollar-per-day measures, respectively, adding that the picture would become clearer when the Annual Socio-Economic Survey would be completed later in the year.[b][/b]

Devarajan, however, said the continent needed to translate the high growth rate it was enjoying into poverty reduction, adding that job creation remained an important instrument for poverty reduction.

He said the continent had a large young population that could make it a powerhouse in the future, but regretted that with the slow rate of job creation, the young people might end up working in the informal sector as their parents.

In a statement issued at the end of the conference, the World Bank said Africa was expected to grow at 4.8 per cent for all of 2012.

Excluding South Africa, the continent’s largest economy, growth in sub-Saharan Africa was forecast to rise to six per cent





Source: PUNCH