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Poverty, infrastructure gap persist amid $48b oil earnings

By Kingsley Jeremiah, Abuja
04 July 2018   |   3:07 am
Though Nigeria has in the past 10 years made about $484 billion from crude oil (about N150 trillion going by current exchange rate of N305/$1), the country’s level of poverty and infrastructure decay have reportedly moved from bad to world worst.

Nigeria rated world worst for extreme poverty
Stakeholders call for accountability, resource control

Though Nigeria has in the past 10 years made about $484 billion from crude oil (about N150 trillion going by current exchange rate of N305/$1), the country’s level of poverty and infrastructure decay have reportedly moved from bad to world worst.

Analysis provided by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) indicated that the country had produced about 8 billion barrel of crude oil from 2008 to 2017, which translate to about $484 billion.

The country had in 2008 produced over 765.2 million barrel of oil, which amounted to about $41.2 billion, it produced 780.6 million barrel, which was sold for $20.8 billion, the country further produced about 894.5 million barrel of oil in 2010 and made $32.6 billion, in 2011, Nigeria produced 866.2 million barrel of oil and earned $45.5 billion, while in 2012, the nation produced 853.1 million barrel of oil and sold it for $42 billion.

In 2013, Nigeria produced 800.4 million barrel of oil and made $38.4 billion. In 2014, Nigeria produced 798.5 million barrel of oil and made $36.1 billion. Between 2015 and 2017, Nigeria produced 2.126 billion barrels of crude oil and condensate and made $104.484 billion. Production stood at 775.6million barrels in 2015, 661.1million barrels in 2016 and 690 million barrels in 2017

Despite earning a whopping $484 billion from crude oil in 10 years, the country has continued to wallow in poverty and infrastructural decal.Stakeholders believed that the revenue from crude oil in the last 10 years could meet yearly $15 billion required to fix the nation’s infrastructure for the next 33 years if the earnings had for instance had been deployed to addressing the shortfall in the nation’s infrastructure

Indeed, recent poverty report by Brookings and world poverty clock showed that Nigeria has the highest number of extremely poor people overtaking India with no fewer than six Nigerians becoming extremely poor every minute.

“At the end of May 2018, our trajectories suggest that Nigeria had about 87 mil- lion people in extreme poverty, compared with India’s 73 million. What is more, extreme poverty in Nigeria is growing by six people every minute, while poverty in India continues to fall,” Brookings report said.

With reported poor implementation of development plans obvious in the level of diversion of public fund, inability to controlled spending on imports; conspicuous consumption habits by the rich few; siphoning of foreign currency to overseas bank accounts and acquisition of properties in foreign lands; among other reasons, a leading economist, who chairs the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Prof. Segun Ajibola expects human development index for the country to worsen, considering that 60 per cent of the citizens live below the poverty line of $2/day.

World poverty clock yesterday showed that over 87 million Nigerians are extremely poor, lacking basic personal needs such as food, clothing and shelter.The situation is deteriorating because of the disconnect between available resources and observed growth and development, Ajibola said.“Most times when there had been growth, it was without development. Hence majority continues to wallow in poverty and squalor, unable to provide for the basic necessities of life, or have access to basic amenities and services.

In July 2014, Nigeria was rated as one of world’s highest growing economics with average growth rate of 7.4% but its infrastructure gap was rated as one of the highest in the region, which equally housed the poorest people in the world despite having huge population to support commerce, a well-developed economy, and plenty of natural resources.

Ajiloba noted that political leadership must demonstrate the will to be good managers of men and resources, while there must be law and order, due process and commitment would revive industries otherwise the challenges may persist.He said: “We need to be more equitable distribution of resources, even spread of developmental projects and infrastructures, resuscitation of ailing industries, etc. Then we will be able to preach social re-engineering and re-orientation that will include the consumption of local commodities as opposed to imported counterparts.”

Principal Partner at Nextier, Patrick Okigbo III, said the low capacity of the pubic service to create well-considered policies and to execute programmes and plans remained a basic challenge affecting development in the country.According to him, poor education system, poor incentive structure, nepotism and other forms of corruption, quota system that leads to recruitment of poor quality staff, account for the reasons the country could not make progress.

“Nigeria needs a fundamental reform of the public service for it to have a fighting chance at fixing her capacity challenge,” Okigbo III said.The analyst said the situation could get worst as other countries invest more in information technology and artificial intelligence, gaining efficiencies that would place them at an advantage over Nigeria leading to worsening economic conditions.

“All of these would be happening even as Nigeria’s population continues to grow. It is sad that we are still taking about infrastructure (roads, power, water, hospitals, etc.) when the world has moved on and is talking about the place of Artificial Intelligence,” he stressed.

A Professor of Petroleum Economics and Policy Research Omowumi Iledare, bemoaned that the country only appears to be wealthy considering that the level of prosperity was personalised instead of being institutionalised.“What needs to change is the personalisation of governance and restructuring of the mind. We need to go back to the basic. Expand the middle class with functioning education for sustainable development. We need to invest in the education of the mind,” Iledare said.According to him, Nigeria must move away from celebrating foreign ideas and embrace home grown solutions to its problems.

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