World Bank Disagrees with Buhari on Poverty Index, says Nigeria is in Dire Strait

World Bank Disagrees with Buhari on Poverty Index, says Nigeria is in Dire Strait

…Reveals Rising Prices Pushed 7 Million Nigerians Below Poverty Line in 2020 …Buhari Govt is Enslaving Unborn Generations with Mounting Debt…PDP Governors ,,,The Administration Has Done Well With Massive Investment in Infrastructure…APC The World Bank has said that seven million Nigerians plunged below the poverty line in 2020 due to inflation. This sharply puts on

…Reveals Rising Prices Pushed 7 Million Nigerians Below Poverty Line in 2020

…Buhari Govt is Enslaving Unborn Generations with Mounting Debt…PDP Governors

,,,The Administration Has Done Well With Massive Investment in Infrastructure…APC

The World Bank has said that seven million Nigerians plunged below the poverty line in 2020 due to inflation. This sharply puts on its head the claim by President Muhammadu Buhari that his administration lifted 10.5 million Nigerians out of poverty in the last two years.

Addressing the nation on the occasion of Democracy Day, the President was upbeat that, “Our over-all economic target of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years is our goal notwithstanding COVID-19.

“In the last two years we lifted 10.5 million people out of poverty – farmers, small-scale traders, artisans, market women and the like.

“I am very convinced that this 100 million target can be met and this informed the development of a National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy. The specific details of this accelerated strategy will be unveiled shortly.”

But the global bank in a statement on its website on Tuesday, said: “In 2020 the Nigerian economy experienced a shallower contraction of -1.8% than had been projected at the beginning of the pandemic (-3.2%).

“Although the economy started to grow again, prices are increasing rapidly, severely impacting Nigerian households,” the statement reads in part.

“As of April 2021, the inflation rate was the highest in four years. Food prices accounted for over 60 per cent of the total increase in inflation.

Rising prices have pushed an estimated seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020 alone.”

Shubham Chaudhuri, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, was quoted in the statement to have said, “While the government has made efforts to reduce the effect of these by advancing long-delayed policy reforms, it is clear that these reforms will have to be sustained and deepened for Nigeria to realize its development potential.”

Earlier in February, a World Bank report had projected that an additional 20 million Nigerians could be impoverished by 2022.

Gloria Joseph-Raji, a senior economist at the Washington-based financial institution, predicts an astronomical surge in Nigeria’s 83 million poverty cycle.

“So, with slower growth and fewer jobs, and then coupled with high inflation, our estimates are that the number of the poor will increase by about 15 to 20 million people by 2022 from the about 83 million people in 2019,” Ms Joseph-Raji said.

A total of 23.18 million persons in Nigeria  are either unemployed or worked for less than 20 hours a week in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2020.

This is according to the Q4 report on unemployment released by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) last March..

This shows a  2.1 million increase from the number recorded in the second quarter (Q2) 2020.

It also means that 33.3 per cent of the labour force in Nigeria were unemployed in Q4 2020, from 27.1 per cent in second quarter 2020.

While the underemployment rate decreased from 28.6 per cent to 22.8 per cent, a combination of both the unemployment and underemployment rate for the reference period gave a figure of 56.1 per cent.

According to the report, Imo State recorded the highest rate of unemployment with 56.64% followed by Adamawa – 54.89% and Cross River – 53.65%. The States with the lowest rates were Osun, Benue and Zamfara recording 11.65%, 11.98% and 12.99% respectively.

Benue State recorded the highest rate of underemployment with 43.52%, followed by Zamfara and Jigawa States with 41.73% and 41.29% respectively.

“Combining both unemployment and underemployment, the state that recorded the highest rate was Imo with 82.5% followed by Jigawa with 80%. Ogun and Sokoto states recorded the lowest of the combined rates, 26.2% and 33.7% respectively,” the report added.

Governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday raised an alarm over the rate at which the All Progressives Congress (APC) is borrowing money to fund projects in the country.

This formed part of the resolutions reached at the end of the meeting of the PDP Governors’ Forum held in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.

“Money should only be borrowed for productive purposes as Nigeria’s current debt of over N36 trillion is becoming clearly unsustainable relative to our earnings and GDP.

“We should not saddle incoming generations with an undue debt burden. The borrowing spree of the APC administration if unchecked will certainly lead Nigeria into avoidable bankruptcy,” a communique issued at the end of the meeting read in part.

The Governors decried that the debt profile of Nigeria with over 80 per cent of normal appropriation spent on debt servicing was rising and becoming uncontrollable.

They stated that all the gains of the PDP government under former President Olusegun Obasanjo when the nation exited its foreign debt obligations had been destroyed.

The Governors accused the present administration of borrowing for frivolous items, stressing that such an action was scandalous.

They also faulted the operational system and methods of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) which they claimed was functioning as an independent government-within-a-government.

“A situation where CBN creates money, decides how much of it to spend, on what to spend it on without any form of controls or supervision is patently subversive of our constitutional order.

“It has become not just a leviathan, but also a Father Christmas of sorts, dabbling into every sphere and scope of governmental activity, not just as a lender of last resort, but as a full executing agency of government,” the communique read.

It added, “The meeting observed that the CBN has become such an octopus that it threatens state governments publicly, without decorum, about sanctions on any attempt to question its Modus Operandi. The CBN should take immediate steps to halt the depreciation of the naira.”

The APC however justified borrowings by the Federal Government, explaining that the loans were invested in the development of critical infrastructure across the country.

APC Caretaker Committee Secretary Senator James Akpanudoedehe said in a statement that the loans were judiciously utilised, instead of ending up in private pockets, reminiscent of when the PDP was in power.

He said the PDP was locked in a crisis of confidence, adding that it has failed to serve as a credible opposition in a democracy.

Akpanudoehehe described the PDP’s outcry as a feature of a sinking platform struggling to clutch on any available straw to remain afloat adding that the main opposition party was rattled by the gale of defections that hit the platform.

Said he: “The sinking PDP is panicking due to its dwindling fortunes as the All Progressives Congress (APC) registered members hit over 40 million, with PDP members, including governors leaving the party in droves and joining the APC.

“While the PDP continues to clutch on straws as it sinks into political oblivion, the APC-led federal government and states governed by the APC are busy providing critical infrastructure, expanding access to education, providing health facilities and economically empowering citizens.”

Akpanduoehehe accused  PDP Governors of indulging in frequent weekend jamborees, where they waste scarce resources at a time some of them are owning workers’ salaries and pensions.

He said the case of Benue and Taraba states stands out.

The APC scribe also berated the PDP for its legacy of abandoned projects.

He said: “Perhaps, the PDP is referring to the litany of abandoned projects it left behind all over the country despite spending 16 years in power and receiving unprecedented earnings when crude oil sold for as high as $150 per barrel.

“The President Buhari government from inception took a good, progressive, patriotic and apolitical decision to complete the abandoned projects and Nigerians have been the ultimate beneficiaries.

“In addition, huge legacy projects being executed by the APC-led administation include the Second Niger Bridge which is set to be completed in 2022, the reconstruction of the Lagos-Ibadan dual carriageway, the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano dual carriageway, the Abuja-Akwangwa-Lafiya-Makurdi highway which is being reconstructed and dualised.

“The initiation, completion and commissioning of the Lagos-Ibadan twin track railway line is another of such landmark projects delivered by the APC administration, even as more are underway.

“The PDP federal government failed to complete the Abuja-Kaduna railway line, which the President Buhari government completed and commissioned for the benefit of Nigerians.

“PDP needs to be reminded that It was because of its failures that Nigerians rejected it twice, in 2015 and 2019. This loss is obviously still haunting the PDP and has caused disarray within its ranks and created irreconcilable divisions”.

Akpanudoedehe added: “For a party that failed in its 16-year governance and as an opposition party, if the PDP believes that Nigerians are ready to place the administration of the country in its hand, then the PDP is a victim of its folly.

“At this point, PDP’s rudderless leadership should deal with the crisis of confidence it suffers. Our democracy deserves a credible opposition which the PDP has woefully failed to provide. Other parties must now rise to the occasion and play the crucial role of opposition.

“Of course, the task of clearing the PDP rot is not a walk in the park considering the level of decay our nation sunk into under the watch of the PDP and the current efforts of PDP leaders to slow down our progress as a nation. However, this government, under the capable hands of President Buhari is focused and courageous enough to lead our country to its deserved place,” the party says.




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