Abuja — No fewer than 133 million Nigerians, representing 63 per cent of the population are currently living in multi-dimensional poverty, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) disclosed yesterday.
Of the total, 105.98 million poor Nigerians are located in rural areas compared to 16.97 million in urban areas.
In August 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari committed to empowering an additional 100 million people to escape extreme poverty by 2030.
This implied that on average, 10 million people must be lifted out of poverty each year, starting in 2020.
However, with the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on livelihoods, and unemployment, the challenge was more evident.
According to the Nigeria Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) 2022 Survey, which was released yesterday by the statistical agency, there are high deprivations in sanitation, time to healthcare, food insecurity, and housing.
Also, poor people experience over one-quarter of all possible deprivations.
Moreover, both the incidence and intensity of poverty at 62.9 per cent and 40.9 per cent respectively exceeded the 26 per cent poverty cut-off threshold.
The report stated that over half of the 200 million population who are multi-dimensionally poor cook with dung, wood, or charcoal, rather than clean energy.
According to the report, multidimensional poverty is higher in rural areas where 72 per cent of the people are poor compared to 42 per cent in urban areas.
It stated that about 70 per cent of Nigerians live in rural areas, yet these areas are home to 80 per cent of poor people.
The report pointed out that the North accounted for 65 per cent or 86 million poor Nigerians while 35 per cent or about 47 million people living in poverty reside in the South.
The incidence of multidimensional poverty was high in Sokoto State which accounted for 96 per cent of poor Nigerians and the lowest incidence of 27 per cent was recorded in Ondo.
In terms of the proportion of poverty and its intensity, the poorest states included Sokoto, Bayelsa, Jigawa, Kebbi, Gombe, and Yobe.
“But we cannot say for sure which of these is the poorest because statistically, their confidence intervals or the range within which the true value falls considering the sample overlap, ” the report noted.
The report, among other things, said two-thirds of children aged 0-17 are poor and accounted for 65 per cent compared to 58.7 per cent of adults, adding that “This gives rise to the sobering reality that over half of all poor people are children”.
The report also stated that the incidence of monetary poverty was lower than the incidence of multidimensional poverty across most states.
It pointed out that the incidence of national monetary poverty stood at 40 per cent in 2018/2019, compared to 63 per cent who are multi-dimensionally poor in 2022.
The report also noted that 29 per cent of all school-aged children are not attending school while 94 per cent of all out-of-school children are poor.
The report, among other recommendations, urged the government to set child poverty reduction as a top national priority.
The survey further stated that, “While the COVID-19 regulatory measures implemented in Nigeria helped to control the spread of the virus, many of these necessary and lifesaving measures had deleterious effects on livelihoods, health, human wellbeing, state-society relations, and social harmony.
“The Nigerian economy has grown post-COVID, with the real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate rising from -1.92% in 2020 to +3.40 per cent in 2021.
“Despite this economic recovery, the lingering impact of the 2020 recession has undermined household welfare and exacerbated poverty and vulnerability.”