By Ndubuisi Francis
Nigeria’s per capital income in 2020 could decline to its lowest level in 40 years, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, has predicted.
His projection is predicated on the dramatic decline in crude oil prices with huge negative impact on government finances, the balance of payments and the drop in Diaspora remittances from Nigerians abroad.
Speaking during a panel session in Abuja, Monday at the ongoing 26th Nigerian Economic Summit (#NES26) organised by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), he observed that the country was still grappling with the last oil price shock of 2014-2016 before the COVID-19 crisis hit the economy.
Per capita income or average income measures the average income earned per person in a given country or area in a specified year. It is calculated by dividing the national income by population size.
According World Bank statistics, Nigeria’s per capita income hit a record high of $3,222.69 in 2014 but fell to $1,968.56 in 2017. As at 2019, it stood at $2,229.9.
Chaudhuri noted: “The fact of the matter is that recovery was there but it was slow; it was only gathering pace,” adding that between 2015 and 2019, 15 million young Nigerians came of working age but only about four million really found the kinds of jobs and opportunities they aspired for.
Noting that Nigeria could build strength out of adversity, the World Bank Country Director said: “Crisis like this is often what it takes to bring a nation together to have that consensus within the political, business, government, military, civil society to say we have to do something that departs from business as usual.
“And for Nigeria, this is a critical juncture. With the contraction in GDP that could happen this year, Nigeria’s per capital income could be around what it was in 1980 – four decades ago.
“This is absolutely a critical juncture and I am very hopeful that given what the government has done, that this crisis will also provide an opportunity for that national consensus.”