Nigeria Making Little Progress Against Poverty – Development Partners

Economic and financial development partners in new reports have concluded that Nigeria was making little or no progress in eliminating poverty.

Nigeria was recently ranked as the poverty capital of the world after recently overtaking India.

This is coming on the heels of the second ever Commitment to Reducing Inequality (CRI) index compiled by Development Finance International (DFI), and Oxfam, which placed the country at the bottom of the rung of the 157 nations sampled.

The CRI Index ranks the commitment of national governments to reducing the gap between rich and poor citizens by measuring three factors considered “critical” to reducing the gap: social spending, tax policies and labor rights. Nigeria ranked bottom of the index for the second consecutive year.

The report says Nigeria’ social spending (mainly on health, education and social protection) is “shamefully low.”

And those meager levels are reflected in reality as Nigeria is home to the highest number of out-of-school children, precisely, 13.5million.

Nigeria also scores poorly on labour rights (133 out of 157) but recent progressive tax policies—such as a tax amnesty scheme—were noted and expected to reflect in the next index.

The top countries on the lower rung include; Bangladesh 148, Singapore 149, Lao PDR 150, Madagascar 151, Bhutan 152, Sierra Leone 153, Chad 154, Haiti 155, Uzbeskistan 156 and Nigeria 157.

Also, the World Bank’s first ever Human Capital Index, HCI, predicts future expectations and it also presents grim reality as Nigeria is 152nd out of the 157 countries.

The index measures “the amount of human capital that a child born today can expect to attain by age 18.”

That prediction is based on five indicators: chances of a child reaching age five, healthy growth, expected years of schooling, quality of learning available and the adult survival rate.

Nigeria’s HCI value of 0.34 (countries are scored between zero and one) is lower than the global average (pdf) of 0.57. It’s also lower than the regional average and the average for nations in Nigeria’s income bracket.

As such, the report predicts that “a child born in Nigeria today will be 34% as productive when she grows up as she could be if she enjoyed complete education and full health.”

In the HCI ranking, Africa occupies the top ten in from bottom with Chad at 0.29 percent, South Sudan 0.30, Mali 0.32, Niger 0.32 and Liberia 0.32.

Others are Nigeria 0.34, Sierra Leone 0.35, Mauritania 0.35, Sierra Leone 0.35 and Angola 0.36

The reports show that the number of Nigerians living in extreme poverty increased by 35 million between 1990 and 2013 alone.

Though the reports acknowledge that President Muhammadu Buhari’s government has launched social intervention programs, including cash transfers to its poorest people, in a bid to reverse its extreme poverty problem.

Nigeria’s efforts at reducing poverty will have to yield immediate and long-term results given its ballooning population: the country is set to become the world’s third largest by 2050.

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