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FG says Nigeria’s poverty rate not getting worse, lists achievements

FG says Nigeria’s poverty rate not getting worse, lists achievements

- The Nigerian government has said that the poverty rate of the country is not getting worse as claimed in a recent report

- Udoma Udo Udoma, the minister of budget and national planning, said the FG has reviewed the report by an international institute

- According to the minister, the report cannot be relied upon as a factual indication of recent trends in Nigeria

The federal government has dismissed a report that Nigeria's poverty level is on the decline.

The minister of budget and national planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, said the ministry has reviewed the report and would like to assure Nigerians that the report is not based on any recent surveys of the poverty levels in Nigeria.

Udoma said the report cannot be relied upon as a factual indication of recent trends in Nigeria.

In a statement signed by the special adviser to the minister on media, Akpanmdem James, Udoma said in deriving its poverty estimates, the Poverty Clock does not, and in this case did not, directly rely on household survey data as national statistical offices in most countries do.

The statement read: "In the specific case of Nigeria, the Poverty Clock uses as baseline the General Household Survey 2012/13 which was not designed to measure poverty indicators accurately and follows a methodology that can be misleading if relied upon for poverty estimates. In line with extant laws, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) remains the statutory agency of government with responsibility for producing Nigeria’s official statistics, including poverty estimates.

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"Like several other countries, Nigeria’s poverty estimates are obtained from the National Living Standard Survey (NLSS) undertaken every five years, and which was last conducted in 2010. While several other household surveys are routinely conducted by the NBS, none are as comprehensive as the NLSS, which is the appropriate household survey to determine poverty estimates.

"The next round of the NLSS is currently being undertaken by NBS, in collaboration with the World Bank, and this will be concluded in 2019.

"There is currently no other comprehensive household study on current poverty trends in Nigeria. It is therefore pertinent to note that the World Poverty Clock is a model-based estimation of poverty, relying on projections and assumptions that cannot substitute for actual household survey approach which most countries adopt.

"This implies that it is not possible to conclude Nigerians poverty position until the NBS completes the NLSS, as no comprehensive field work has been done in Nigeria, and among Nigerian households,as is required according to standard international methodology.

"It is however important to point out that the federal government of Nigeria, in line with strategies outlined in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), remains committed to promoting sustainable economic development through various social investment schemes that will yield positive impacts on poverty and unemployment; and will consequently change the trajectory of poverty in the country."

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Further listing achievement of the present administration in bringing Nigeria out of poverty line, the ministry said various intervention programmes have focused on engaging youths in entrepreneurial and training skills.

The minister also said that the government is committed, and has been vigorously expanding public works in infrastructure, such as railways, roads and bridges, which is catalysing economic growth, as is evident from the turn-around in the GDP growth numbers.

"In order to support and encourage private sector investment, government has placed emphasis on Made-in-Nigeria products; and public procurement is focused on local content and labour-intensive production processes. Government is also enhancing the ease of doing business and tackling power challenges to attract private sector investment that will in turn create jobs and further reduce poverty levels across the country.

"The impact of these efforts, amongst others, will certainly translate to a reduction of the poverty levels in Nigeria. After emergence from recession in 2017 all major economic indices have turned positive in the last 12 months.

"We are therefore optimistic that any poverty survey carried out now will show that this Administration is succeeding in turning around the negative trajectory that the Nigerian economy had been on before we took over. And that this turnaround will succeed in lifting millions of Nigerians out of poverty," the minister said.

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Meanwhile, previously reported that the minister of industry, trade and investments, Okechukwu Enelamah, had said that the indices used for the report may have been complied when Nigeria was in recession.

Enelamah in a statement urged Nigerians not to be overly worried about the report.

He said the present administration’s urgent infrastructure programmes and enabling environment for businesses will make poverty in the country disappear.

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