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We are not as poor as people thought we were – even the World Bank admits.

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The recently announced re-based GDP figures
that increased the estimated size of the
Nigerian economy has again drawn attention
to official poverty statistics. Data from the last
comprehensive household survey (NHLSS) in
2009/2010 indicated that the official poverty
rate remained stubbornly high at 46% of the
population (adult equivalent approach), or
62% in strictly per capita terms.
This indicates only a slight decline from 48%
and 64%, respectively, that were recorded
from the NHLSS in 2003/2004. These poverty
numbers raise two major economic questions.
Firstly, why has the rapid economic growth in
Nigeria not generated greater poverty
reduction?
Second, how could an economy of the size
and wealth of Nigeria have such high poverty
rates? The country’s performance is at
odds with the general international trend of
poverty reduction, in particular in other
countries experiencing rapid economic growth
like Nigeria.

From the report, it appears increasingly likely
that consumption of Nigerians was
underestimated in the 2009/2010 NHLSS. A
World Bank report of 2013 raised the
hypothesis that consumption may have been
significantly underestimated in the 2009/2010
NHLSS. This report noted an unusual sharp
decline in monthly consumption in this
survey in early 2010 relative to the second
half of 2009 that would seem to have little
economic rationale. The newly re-based GDP
numbers increase suspicions in this regard, as
the average level of consumption reported in
this survey would appear to be inconsistent
with the newly estimated size of the Nigerian
economy.
What the report does, is that it provides a
partial reassessment of poverty in Nigeria
based on recent information. This note makes
use of new National Bureau of Statistics (NBS)
data, that has become available on the web
from two smaller General Household Surveys
(GHS) in panel format conducted in 2010/2011
and 2012/2013. It should be emphasized that
this reassessment is only a very partial
analysis, and its confirmation or refutation
will need to come from the next
comprehensive HNLSS in 2014/2015 by NBS…read More

Written by Tunji Andrews and Originally featured on YNaija.

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