Emma Johnson
Thu, Jul 27, 2023 10:25 PM

Nigeria's Rising Poverty and Inequality Levels Cause Concern Among Experts

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Nigeria's Rising Poverty and Inequality Levels Cause Concern Among Experts
The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) and the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) have highlighted the alarming increase in Nigeria's poverty and inequality levels. Experts are calling for targeted social programs, improved access to education and healthcare, increased employment opportunities, and basic infrastructure development to reduce the inequality index in the country.

The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), in collaboration with the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) among other stakeholders, have expressed concern over Nigeria's rising levels of poverty and inequality, while calling for practical efforts to reduce the inequality index in the country.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the country's multidimensional poverty rose from 43.7 per cent in 2019 to 63.2 per cent in 2021.

Mr Henry C. Edeh of the department of economics, University of Nigeria, called for targeted social programs that will enhance households through scholarships, health insurance that improve access of the poor to health services, increased employment opportunities through the provision of cheap energy sources, and provision of basic infrastructures to significantly improve the wellbeing and quality of life of poor households in rural and urban areas.

He made the call at an in-country dissemination workshop with the theme, "The Growth, Poverty, and Inequality Relationships in Africa (GPIR) collaborative research project." The workshop was designed to provide a platform for sharing evidence and encouraging policy dialogue on poverty, income distribution, and growth issues.

In his welcome remarks, director of research at the NESG, Dr Olusegun Omisakin, said that it has become more critical to generate policy recommendations for ensuring better living standards for an average Nigerian.

Represented by an economist at the NESG, Dr Seyi Vincent was concerned that poverty has risen despite an increase in Nigeria's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) when GDP growth should help tackle poverty.

Vincent said the workshop is focused on the effects of human capital development on multidimensional poverty and household improvement and, at the macroeconomic level, analyze why human capital development is key for economic competitiveness, improved living standards, and economic growth that strengthens socio-economic development in Nigeria.

In her opening remarks, manager of research at AERC, Dr Scholastica Odhiambo, stated that the AERC has a capacity-building framework for thematic and collaborative research on contemporary topical issues in Africa. She said the discussions will contribute to pathways for policy action, alleviation of poverty and inequality, and address continuous and emerging challenges on topical economic issues.

During the panel session, consultant, public health physician, NESG, Prof Akin Osigbogun said Nigeria is not using its human capital resources well. He noted that countries with the worst health outcomes have increased out-of-pocket spending.

Professor Osibogun said it was critical for Nigeria to adopt a subsidiary principle where such funds are locally managed, and the government can retain a percentage of the public good that is totally financed in the interest of the public, noting that countries with social advancement programs already have social structures on the ground.

The MD/CEO Clina-Lancet Laboratories Dr Dawodu Olayemi said there is a need to enable rural dwellers to have access to education, health, and infrastructure. He stressed the importance of educating the public to invest in health to reduce poverty and close the inequality gap.

Faculty member, non-residential fellowship program, NESG, Professor Risikat Dauda, said Nigeria needs economic growth that will lead to an appreciable decrease in poverty, bring about employment opportunities, reduce inequalities, and ensure the poor and vulnerable groups have access to education.

The rising levels of poverty and inequality in Nigeria have become a cause for concern among experts from the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) and the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC). The latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reveals that multidimensional poverty in the country has increased from 43.7% in 2019 to 63.2% in 2021. This alarming rise emphasizes the urgent need for practical measures to reduce the inequality index and improve the lives of Nigerian citizens.

During an in-country dissemination workshop titled "The Growth, Poverty, and Inequality Relationships in Africa (GPIR) collaborative research project," Mr. Henry C. Edeh, an economics professor at the University of Nigeria, called for targeted social programs to enhance households and improve access to education and healthcare. He stressed the importance of scholarships, health insurance, increased employment opportunities, and the provision of basic infrastructures to significantly uplift the quality of life for poor households in both rural and urban areas.

Dr. Olusegun Omisakin, the director of research at the NESG, emphasized the need to generate policy recommendations that ensure better living standards for the average Nigerian. Despite an increase in Nigeria's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), poverty levels continue to rise, posing serious challenges to socio-economic development in the country. Dr. Seyi Vincent, an economist at the NESG, highlighted this concern during the workshop, questioning why GDP growth has not resulted in poverty reduction.

The workshop delved into the role of human capital development in combating poverty and improving household welfare. It explored the importance of economic competitiveness, increased living standards, and sustainable growth through the analysis of human capital development. Dr. Scholastica Odhiambo, the manager of research at AERC, emphasized the significance of collaborative research and evidence-based policy recommendations to address the continuous and emerging challenges of poverty and inequality in Africa.

Addressing the issue of health outcomes, Prof. Akin Osigbogun, a consultant and public health physician at the NESG, highlighted the mismanagement of Nigeria's human capital resources. He noted that countries with poor health indicators often experience increased out-of-pocket spending. Prof. Osigbogun called for a subsidiary principle that enables local management of resources and ensures the government retains a percentage of public funds to invest in the welfare of citizens. He stressed the importance of established social structures, as seen in countries with successful social advancement programs.

Dr. Dawodu Olayemi, the MD/CEO of Clina-Lancet Laboratories, emphasized the need to improve access to education, healthcare, and infrastructure for rural dwellers. Addressing inequalities requires educating the public about the importance of investing in health to reduce poverty and bridge the inequality gap.

Professor Risikat Dauda, a faculty member of the non-residential fellowship program at NESG, emphasized the necessity of economic growth to decrease poverty, generate employment opportunities, reduce inequalities, and ensure adequate education access for vulnerable groups. These multi-faceted approaches are vital to address the complex challenges posed by rising poverty and inequality in Nigeria.

The NESG and AERC's collaborative efforts to address poverty and inequality underscore the importance of evidence-based policymaking and targeted interventions. With the implementation of practical and sustainable social programs, improved access to education and healthcare, increased employment opportunities, and the development of basic infrastructure, Nigeria can work towards reducing the inequality index and improving the overall well-being of its citizens.

Source of content: OOO News 2023-07-27 News

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