Recently, the world bank disclosed that more Nigerians will fall below the poverty line in the year 2022. According to the Washington-based bank, the number of poor Nigerians is projected to hit 95.1 million in 2022. They further disclosed that the reduction of poverty in the country had stagnated since 2015, given Nigeria’s rapid population growth.
According to a report, it was revealed that the covid-19 pandemic that ravaged nearly the whole world, pushed over 5 million more Nigerians into poverty in 2022. The covid-19 crisis skyrocketed the poverty rate in Nigeria, pushing millions of them into extreme poverty, with the GDP growth being negative in all sectors in the year 2022. Those who were slightly above the poverty line before the covid-19 pandemic, saw a lot of them fall into poverty as many more are still estimated to fall.
Had the covid-19 crisis not have occurred the poverty headcount rate would have remained unchanged with the number of poor people set to rise from 85.2 million in 2020 to 90.0 million in 2022, partly due to the population growth. What this implies is that the covid-19 pandemic drove additional millions of Nigerians into poverty. I once tweeted on the Twitter platform that with the way things are going in the country, with millions of people falling into poverty, there might likely not be a middle class in the country anymore. It might unfortunately be a case of, either you are rich or poor.
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It is disheartening that a nation like Nigeria that God has blessed with abundant natural resources which are meant to make the country a place of Eldorado and envy to many nations has a large percentage of its citizens living in poverty. This shows that the elected political leaders have been woeful in their performances as they merely mount power for selfish interest, thereby impoverishing the lives of the people. As a result of extreme corruption, even the poverty reduction programs suffer from no funding and have failed to give the needed remedy to this country. The youths in the country are faced with massive unemployment which the President one time described as “lazy youths”. Such a statement is flawed because the same government refused to provide them with adequate jobs.
Due to being idle, so many of them have subscribed to all sorts of vices in society. Yet the irony of everything going on in the country is that there are abundant natural resources, emerging and industrious citizens, a diversified economy which is indeed needed to move a developing country forward. Yet the leaders fail to utilize these resources in improving the lives of the people. Due to the hardship faced in the country, some households have adopted dangerous coping strategies which include; reducing education, scaling back food consumption, etc, which all of these could have negative long-run consequences for their human capital.
If indeed the government is hell-bent on curbing the poverty rate in the country, their efforts will be felt and visible. But rather, they treat the issue with levity as long as they continue to take home huge sums of money as salaries and allowances. Much needs to be done to help lift millions of Nigerians out of poverty because it is often said that “a hungry man is an angry man”. There are ways which the government could go about it, such as;
- Boosting the health and education sector in the country
- Expanding social projection
- Establishment of skill acquisition Centers
- Provision of jobs
- Reform of the Agricultural sector
- Reforming expensive subsidies (including fuel subsidies)
All these above-mentioned and many more if well implemented, will ensure the reduction of poverty in the country. Achieving all these is not rocket science, with clear-cut strategies, they will be effectively implemented.