Abuja – The World Bank on Tuesday said the Poverty rate in Nigeria has dropped from 35.2 percent of population in 2010 / 2011 to 33.1 percent in 2012 / 2013.
John Litwack, the bank's Acting Country Manager and Lead Economist, stated this during a media launch of the Nigeria Economic Report in Abuja.
Litwack said that the decrease represents a dramatic drop from an estimated poverty rate of 62.2 percent recorded between 2009 and 2010 based on the Harmonised Nigeria Living Standard Statistics (HNLSS).
“The poverty rates per capital from the General Household Survey (GHS) panel between 2012 and 2013 is 33.1 percent with 44.9 percent in the rural areas and 12.6 percent in the urban areas.
“This indicates lower poverty rates compared to 35.2 percent recorded between 2010 and 2011 with 46.3 percent in the rural areas and 15.8 percent in the urban centre,’’ Litwack said.
He said that an estimated 60 percent of the Nigerian population lived below 140 percent of the poverty line, which is close to $2 per day.
Explaining the disparities between poverty level in the Southern and Northern Nigeria, Litwack said there appeared to be higher poverty rate in the Northern part than in the Southern parts of the country.
“The number of poor Nigerians has remained 58 million, more than half of which live in the North East or North West of the country.
“While the South and North Central experienced declines in the poverty rate between 2010 to 2011and 2012 to 2013, the poverty rate increased in the North East and remained almost unchanged in the North West,’’ he said.
On the employment level in the country, he said that employment remained a critical problem in the country.
“The issue we have in Nigeria is not unemployment but underemployment because most Nigerians cannot afford not to work, but a large share of the population is engaged in low productivity and low paying tasks.
“An unofficial assessment using acceptable International Labour office (ILO) methodologies would suggest that the unemployment rate in Nigeria is less than 10 per cent,’’ he said.
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