*North-85m, South-47m; 66.5m children are poor
By Babajide Komolafe, Economy Editor, Victor Ahiuma-Young, Emmanuel Elebeke, John Alechenu and Elizabeth Adegbesan
THE National Bureau of Statistics, NBS yesterday said that 133 million (63 per cent) Nigerians are suffering from multidimensional poverty, with children constituting more than half of poor people in the country.
This means that two (2) out of every three (3) Nigerians are poor and experience just over one-quarter of all possible deprivations in terms of health, education, living standards, and work and shocks.
The NBS disclosed this in the 2022 Multidimensional Poverty Index, MPI, Report launched on Thursday in Abuja.
The MPI is the result of the 2022 Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) Survey carried out by NBS and development partners.
The survey was a collaborative effort between the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the National Social Safety-Nets Coordinating Office (NASSCO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI).
A breakdown of the dimensions of poverty used for the MPI includes: Nutrition, Food insecurity, Time to healthcare, School attendance, Years of schooling and School lag.
Others are Water, Water reliability, Sanitation, Housing materials, Cooking fuel, Assets, Unemployment, Underemployment, Security shock
Among other things the report showed that 65% of poor people—86 million—live in the North, while 35%—nearly 47 million— live in the South.
According to the report, “multidimensional poverty is higher in rural areas, where 72% of people are poor, compared to 42% of people in urban areas.
“Approximately 70% of Nigeria’s population live in rural areas, yet these areas are home to 80% of poor people; their intensity of poverty is also higher, at 42% in rural areas compared to 37% in urban areas.
“Two-thirds (67.5%) of children aged 0–17 are poor according to the National MPI, and half (51%) of all poor people are children.”
FG restate commitment to eradicating poverty – Buhari
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has restated his unwavering commitment to eradicating poverty in the country, adding that the MPI results will be used to influence the allocation of resources going forward, particularly to target sectors where most citizens suffer deprivations.
He added that the MPI results will also serve as both a measurement and policy tool to monitor the Federal Government’s progress at achieving these goal of lifting 100 million people out of poverty within 10 years, in line with the objectives of the SDGs and the Africa Agenda 2063
Speaking at the launch of the MPI report in Abuja, President Buhari who was represented by the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, said, “This government recognises the importance of the data and the need to deploy it in sharing your story to a broad spectrum of stakeholders, both domestically and internationally.
“Internally, we have now deployed a comprehensive Data Demand and Use (DDU) strategy to embed the use of evidence-based and data driven poverty reduction mechanisms. To begin this deployment of the data, let me share seven reasons why Nigeria’s multidimensional poverty index is a powerful tool to galvanise the kind of action that will push us forward to achieving the Presidential mandate of lifting 100 million out of poverty, within the next decade:
“First, the building blocks of Nigeria’s MPI are a set of deprivations that a person experiences at the same time. They relate to dimensions like health, education, living standards, work, and security. And so, the MPI brings under one roof different Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) indicators and forms of poverty, so we can break silos and address them together.
“Secondly, Nigeria is a large and diverse country. Using the disaggregation to show the vast range in the levels of poverty, we can see the precise needs for each State or senatorial district, which will allow policymakers at that level take appropriate action.
How FG will use MPI report
“As a post-pandemic data, it will be integrated within the National Social Register- the government’s largest databank on the poor and vulnerable. This integration will facilitate better targeting and coordinated response for social interventions; leaving no one behind.
“The MPI is embedded within the Medium-Term National Development Plans (2021-2026 & 2026-2030) as a measurement and policy tool for poverty reduction. Likewise, this year, the Federal Executive Council approved the 2022-2025 National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy (NPRGS) under which the MPI project is being implemented.
“The MPI analysis uncovers differences by gender and children. Children are a strategic population in Nigeria. They are deeply affected by poverty, yet they are our future. So, we are building a young child MPI. It includes the national MPI and adds in extra information about early childhood development, which is information we require to improve their lives and life chances.
“At the Federal level, these results will be used to influence the allocation of resources going forward, particularly to target sectors where most citizens suffer deprivations.
“The MPI is not our only data on poverty, combining the insights provided by MPI results with data from the income poverty measurement, it provides a holistic picture of poverty, and helps to shape the path towards shared prosperity.
Dimensions of Poverty
Explaining the structure of the MPI survey, the NBS said: “The National MPI 2022 has four dimensions: health, education, living standards, and work and shocks. The number of indicators, and their ambition, have increased.
“Security shocks were raised in consultations and have been added to the work dimension, which also now includes underemployment. Food security and time to healthcare have been added to the health dimension.
“School lag has been added to the education dimension as a proxy for quality, and water reliability added to living standards. The National MPI 2022 also has a linked Child MPI. This Child MPI extends the National MPI to include appropriate indicators for children aged 0–4, by adding a fifth dimension of child survival and development.
“This additional dimension contains eight vital aspects of early childhood development in physical and cognitive domains—including severe undernutrition, immunisation, intellectually stimulating activities, and preschool. While it does not offer individual-level data, it uncovers additional children who according to the extra dimension should qualify as multidimensionally poor.”
Key results of MPI 2022
According to the National MPI 2022, 62.9% of people—just under 133 million people— are multidimensionally poor, meaning that they experience deprivations in more than one dimension, or in at least 26% of weighted indicators. The average deprivation score among poor people, which shows the intensity of poverty, is 40.9%. The National MPI is 0.257, showing that poor people in Nigeria experience just over one-quarter of all possible deprivations.
“Multidimensional poverty is higher in rural areas, where 72% of people are poor, compared to 42% of people in urban areas.
“Approximately 70% of Nigeria’s population live in rural areas, yet rural areas are home to 80% of poor people, and their intensity of poverty is also higher: 42% in rural areas compared to 37% in urban areas.
“Sixty-five percent of poor people—86 million—live in the North, while 35%—nearly 47 million – live in the South.
In the least-poor zone, the South West, the MPI of 0.151 shows that poor people experience 15% of possible deprivations, while in North East and North West, the MPI of 0.324 shows they experience over 32% of possible deprivations.
Poverty across states
“Poverty levels across States vary significantly, with the incidence of multidimensional poverty ranging from a low of 27% in Ondo to a high of 91% in Sokoto.
“Indicator priorities vary quite widely between States with very similar poverty levels, so interventions should be tailored to the deprivation profiles of each State.
“For accurate budgeting and planning, it is vital to consider how many people are poor, alongside their level of poverty.
Poverty among children
Two-thirds (67.5%) of children aged 0–17 are poor according to the National MPI, and half (51%) of all poor people are children.
According to the Child MPI, 83.5% of children under 5 are poor. The incidence of Child MPI is above 50% in all States, and greater than 95% in Bayelsa, Sokoto, Gombe and Kebbi.
“The highest deprivations are in the indicator of child engagement—where over half of poor children lack the intellectual stimulation that is pivotal to early childhood development.
“Child poverty is prevalent in rural areas, with almost 90% of rural children experiencing poverty.
“While 6 out of 10 girls aged 12–17 were poor, among those in child marriages, approximately 8 out of 10 were poor. The MPI among married girls was also higher at 0.338, compared to 0.256 for girls who are not married. While the numbers are small, the differences in poverty are very high, emphasising the need to address child marriage and multidimensional poverty.
Poverty and School attendance
“In total, 29% of all school-aged children are not attending school. This is closely linked to multidimensional poverty: 94% of all out-of-school children are poor.
“Thus 27% of all school age children are both poor and out of school (with no significant gender disparities), making this a critical area in need of urgent investment.
“The data profiles how many children live in households where there is inequality, with some children attending school and others not. Overall, 17% of poor school-aged children experience inequalities in their household, compared to 2% of non-poor school-aged children.
“Gender disparities continue to greatly affect the overall population, with 1 in 7 poor people (18.6 million) living in a household in which a man has completed primary school, but no woman has done so.
“Across Nigeria, 4.4 million people, 2.1% of the population, live in households with a pioneer child—a child who has completed six years of schooling and lives in a household where no adult has completed six years of schooling”
In terms of recommendations, the NBS recommended that “The National MPI 2022 as an official monitoring indicator for the initiative lifting 100 million people out of poverty by 2030, to complement the monetary indicators.
“The National MPI 2022 to report and share progress on poverty reduction via both the Global SDG Indicators Database (as 1.2.2) and Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs).
“The National MPI should be regularly updated, using an appropriate survey vehicle. Integration of the National MPI 2022 with the National Monitoring and Evaluation Framework at the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning (MFBNP) is essential.
“Incorporate the National MPI into medium and long-term strategies (such as the National Development Plan) with appropriate targets.
“Prioritise and accelerate the implementation of existing national policies and action plans that have an impact on clusters of deprivations that are particularly high at a national or sub-national level
“Adopt a national strategy to accelerate the sustainable transition to clean cooking fuels and technologies, given that more than half of the population who are multidimensionally poor cook with dung, wood or charcoal
Set child poverty reduction as a top national priority, as more than half of all poor people are children.
“Early childhood development policies must be strengthened and accelerated. The nutrition of children aged 0–4 must be prioritised as this population cannot wait; policies to increase school enrolment and attendance should also be prioritised, as should policies to end child marriage.
“Alongside previous policy recommendations, prioritise interventions in rural areas, where 80% of all multidimensionally poor people live.
“Adopt a programme aimed at promoting employment and alleviating shocks for households with at least one PLWD.
“Continue to include MPI data in the National Social Register (NSR) to ensure that targeting takes into account people who are multidimensionally poor.
“Promote the poverty dashboard so non-governmental actors can access and use National MPI data to target their programmes.”
NBS poverty report, not contestable—NECA
Reacting, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, NECA, said with high inflation rate making nonsense of the disposable income of the masses and businesses challenged on all fronts, the figure by the NBS is not contestable.
Director-General of NECA, Wale-Smatt Oyerinde told Vanguard that “The NBS report that 63 percent of Nigerians, that is about 133 million are poor, cannot be far from the truth. With high inflation rate making nonsense of the disposable income of the masses and businesses challenged on all fronts, the figure by the NBS is not contestable.
“Over the past months, prices of food items have continued to rise as inflation has remained high, even as farmers are not yet totally free to plant and harvest their crops. To make matters worse, the recent flood disrupted the economic potential and means of sustenance of many Nigerians, further pushing them below the poverty line.
“To address this drift, government must take deliberate steps to address the fiscal and monetary quagmire that has tended to impoverish many than lift them out of poverty. Pro-business regulations should be deepened to enable business growth in order to generate more employment.”
Reacting to the MPI 2022 report, the Atiku-Okowa Presidential Campaign said the outgoing Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress administration was leaving behind an inglorious record of grinding poverty occasioned by an abysmal performance in education and health among other indices of development.
Special Assistant , Public Communication to Atiku Abubakar, Phrank Shaibu, said the latest report by the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics, which says 63 percent of Nigerians are poor has underlined the fact that the number of Nigerians living in poverty is alarming but this latest report by the National Bureau of Statistics about the multidimensional height of our poverty level calls for concern.
“This,” he said, “is even more so that, in Buhari’s Nigeria, there have been no convincing measures being taken to indicate that anything concrete is being done about it.
“He said, “Included in this troubling reality is that over 23 million youths, mostly educated and potentially productive, are unemployed. This development portends only one thing: a threat to the security and stability of the Nigerian nation.
“From the monetary perspective, the Central Bank of Nigeria, whose job it is to check inflation claims that it is doing its best to ensure that the overall prices for goods and services remain low, stable and predictable even as records on the ground point to the contrary.
“Although the Buhari administration claims to be empowering potential investors; big and small so as to improve people’s lives, records show that 54.7 percent of Nigerians are financially excluded due to low level bank penetration in the country, and that beside the 916 Microfinance Banks, the 24 ‘big banks’ have only a little over 6000 branches, mostly concentrated in a few urban centres.
He further said: “To worsen matters, the social safety net scheme introduced by the Federal Government in 2016, to tackle poverty and hunger has not made any significant impact owing to poor implementation, corruption allegation and politicisation.
“Only a sensible government will reckon that by redirecting public expenditure away from recurrent expenses and unnecessary consumption back to capital projects, the government can have positive impact on incomes and employment.
“Such newly-employed individuals can in turn pay their bills, rent and essentials, thus providing income to the farmers, herdsmen, landlords and the like.
“Industrial policy, the kind that is encapsulated in Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s blueprint, is another area to concentrate on.
“A nation of 200 million people cannot abandon its manufacturing sector in favour of importation. We must ensure that most of what we eat, drink, wear or otherwise use on daily basis are locally produced, thereby creating local employment and saving foreign exchange.
“The current policy thrust may give the government additional revenue but it is actually wasting scarce resources and generating more jobs and incomes for foreign countries.
“Even within the industrial sector, more employment opportunities need to be created. The worn excuse that the sector does not generate much employment because it is capital intensive has been discredited by the example of big countries like Russia and Brazil, as well as small ones like Trinidad and Tobago.
“So far, we seem to focus mainly on what taxes, fees or royalties we can extract rather than developing the upstream and downstream sectors, through the creation of integrated complexes to provide chemicals, plastics and other industrial inputs for our industrial uses and export. The days of simply exporting crude should by now have been over.““It is for the purpose of departing from Buhari’s legacy of poverty that Atiku’s policy document code-named Unity-SEED, which stands for Unity, Security, Economy, Education and Devolution of power to states and local governments lays emphasis on Promoting diversification and linkages between agriculture, industry and micro and small enterprises.
Shaibu maintained, “Although the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate believes that the oil sector shall remain key to Nigeria’s development as it continues to provide fiscal resources for investment in economic and social infrastructure, his plan is to give priority to the promotion of sustained non-oil sector growth and enhanced linkages between the oil and non-oil sectors.
“In pursuit of a policy of diversification, Atiku shall support the development of a commercially-driven, technology-proficient agriculture which ensures food security and interfaces with the manufacturing sector for the supply of raw materials.
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