Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The Presidency Wednesday explained that the World Poverty Lab used 2012 statistics in its recent report on Nigeria poverty Index.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Social Investment Programme, Mariam Uwais, made this known while speaking at the 25th anniversary of Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) held Wednesday in Abuja.
She said: “I want to start by making a small correction regarding the World Bank rating on Nigeria poverty Index. It was not the World Bank rating, rather it was done by the World Poverty Lab and we engaged them and it turned out that they used statistics from 2012 and they used indicators such as area survey, electricity, the position of energy, vehicles parks and some others, and that is actually representative.
“We have actually invited them to come back to do analysis of what is happening now and it is important to use other issues that are more relevant to Nigerian in terms of developing countries, in terms of consumption. We know that it is not about cars or electricity, it’s about consumption, income, malnutrition are indicators of poverty rather than what is utilised.”
Uwais stressed that the important thing for measuring poverty in Nigeria is to adopt multi dimensional poverty index as a robust tool to ensuring that poverty is measured.
“There is the MPI index launched by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and we are hoping that it would be adopted instead of just income and consumption.”
She emphasised the need for a coordinated agency that target human capital and enable the government to lift people out of poverty.
“For that reason a lot of our leaders have been very oblivious, they tend to see the bridges, roads, hospitals, school. And education, health has suffered because it’s not a legacy that is visible and tangible immediately.”
Uwais said government has been trying to build a database of poor and vulnerable citizens, adding that 8 million people are currently benefiting from the cash transfers.
Executive Director of ANEEJ, Rev. David Ugolor, said that it was obvious that there is a strong connection between the environment and the level of poverty prevalent in Nigeria 25 years ago.
He added that ANEEJ also facilitated first ECOWAS Network on debt and development- the first sub regional movement tackling the World Bank and the IMF on issues of debt and structural adjustmenta in the region.
While delivering his public lecture titled: “Africa and the Challenge of Poverty”, Dr. Godwin Ehigiamusoe, said that huge investment in educational sector in terms of access, that is, number and nature of educational institutions as well as its quality is urgently required.
According to him, “Cost of the core services such as education and health services is one of the emerging factors and health services is one of the emerging poverty generating factors. In Nigeria, roughly 65% to 70% of educational services by private sector actors especially in the South.
“Poor households now apply the little funds they have and even borrow to send their children to private schools . Many Africans are in poverty because they had to struggle to send their children to high fee-paying privates schools, because there are no quality public schools.
Ehigiamusoe said that the months of January, May and October are known as months of agony for parents because of the challenge of schools fees for their children in private schools.
He said that many distressed families sell their core assets or get into debt trap in n order to access expensive medical treatment in India
He explained that investment in the education sector would have double barrel impact on poverty, saying it would relieve people of the burden of huge fees in private institutions and utilise such resources to improve the standard of living of members if their households, while quality of education would lead to development of a populace that is able to translate natural resources to enhanced wellbeing I the people.