‘Nigeria’s socio-economic performance plunged in last four years’
The Organised Private Sector (OPS) yesterday declared that President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s performance in the socio-economic and welfare perspective plunged in the last four years between 2015 and 2019.
Supporting its claims with data obtained within the period, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), stated that trends in per capita income, poverty, unemployment and food inflation confirmed a worsening state of affairs.
It explained that although dataset on per capita income ended in 2018, per capita income fell steadily between 2015 and 2018, with present realities affirming same, while Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita fell further in 2019, as population growth rate (estimated at 2.7%) exceeded GDP growth (2.27%) in 2019.
The assessment came a few days after the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo-led Committee on Economic Sustainability Plan cautioned that about 39.4m people may lose their jobs by year-end, if the government failed to take preemptive measures.
The panel also warned that millions of other citizens might fall into extreme poverty before the coronavirus pandemic ends, as GDP fell to between minus 4.40 per cent and 8.91 per cent.
It further stated that the severity of the situation would depend on duration of the lockdown and strength of the country’s economic response.In its position paper on Nigeria’s democracy at 21, the LCCI noted that the performance from poverty reduction perspective gives cause for concern, saying worsening poverty poses a serious risk to the democratic process and the security.
Insisting that a stronger economy driven by the private sector was fundamental to the building of robust democratic structures and processes, it urged the political leadership at all levels to improve environment for private sector development.
LCCI’s Director-General, Muda Yusuf, said, “In 2018, Nigeria overtook India as the country with the world’s most extreme poor people despite India having a population seven times larger than Nigeria’s.
“According to the World Poverty Clock, the number of extremely poor Nigerians rose to 91.6m in 2019 from 87m in 2018, implying that close to half of the population live below the poverty line.
“A more recent data by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) put poverty rate at 40 per cent in 2019, indicating that 80 million Nigerians live in poverty.
“Worsening poverty situation in Nigeria is partly driven by rising cost of living particularly prices of food items. The acceleration in average food prices from 9.9 per cent in 2015 to 13.7 per cent in 2019 reinforces this position.”