NIGERIA – The World Bank has said the number of Nigerians living in extreme poverty may increase by more than 30 million by 2030 and the country will be home to 25 per cent of the world’s destitute people if the government fails to revive economic growth and create jobs.
The Bank also warned that the country could slide back into recession if crude prices fell by 25 per cent to $50 a barrel.
According to the 2019 Nigeria Economic Update Report, Nigeria’s economy is expected to grow by 2.1 per cent in 2020 and 2021, compared to an annual population growth rate of 2.6 per cent.
Today, an estimated 100 million Nigerians live on less than $1.90 per day and the world bank predicts that this situation would deteriorate even further given that Nigeria’s population growth is outpacing economic growth.
“Close to 80 per cent of poor households are in northern Nigeria, while employment creation and income gains have been concentrated on central and southern Nigeria,” the World Bank said.
It noted that Nigeria’s economy was recovering gradually from the 2016 recession, with growth projected to pick up from 1.9 per cent in 2018 to two per cent in 2019.
The World Bank, however, warned that the projected growth outlook “is vulnerable to external and domestic risks, including geopolitical and trade tensions that may affect inflows of private investment.”
“Nigeria has the opportunity to advance reforms to mitigate these risks amid growing public demand for greater economic opportunities,” it said.
The World Bank urged President Muhammadu Buhari to increase domestic revenue, remove trade restrictions and improve the predictability of economic policy.
It also advised the Nigerian government to remove expensive fuel subsidies and reduce lending to targeted sectors “that crowd out banks.”
Failure to take actions would see more Nigerians falling into extreme poverty, the bank warned.
About 50 per cent of Nigeria’s almost 200 million people live in poverty, according to the World Bank. Last year, Nigeria overtook India as the country with the highest number of people in extreme poverty.