Lagos - The African Development Bank (AfDB) says the government's efforts to reduce poverty rate by 2015 seems weak.
This is according to the African Economic Outlook, an annual report of the bank.
"Nigeria’s prospect of halving poverty by 2015 seems weak. The proportion of people living below the national poverty line has worsened from 65.5 per cent in 1996 to 69.0 per cent in 2010.
"Poverty is higher in rural areas at 73.2 per cent than in urban area at 61.8 per cent,’’ it said.
According to the document, inequality also rose from 2004 to 2010.
The report noted that the rate of poverty varied significantly between urban and rural citizens and among geographical zones, adding that 66 per cent of the rural population lives below the poverty line of one dollar per day.
"Malnutrition is widespread. Rural areas and disadvantaged groups are particularly vulnerable to chronic food shortages and unbalanced nutrition.
"A total of 41 per cent of Nigerian children are stunted, nine per cent wasted or thin and 23 per cent underweight," it said.
It added as at 2011 unemployment rate was at 24 per cent compared to 21 per cent in 2010, adding that the rate was high among the age bracket of between 15 and 24, and 25 to 44, at 38 per cent and 22 per cent, respectively.
The report noted that an average of 1.8 million people entered the labour market every year over the past five years.
It quoted the statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics to have projected that number of entrance to the labour market yearly, would grow from three million in 2012 to about 8.5 million in 2015.
"Unemployment, particularly youth unemployment, is an urgent policy priority, several agencies and plans have been established to tackle poverty and unemployment," it said.
It said that this must be enhanced to ensure effective engagement of the youth for economic growth and development.
On social protection, the report said that though it was a priority in Vision 20:2020 plan, it was yet to have a comprehensive policy and budget support.
"Social protection policy has been on the agenda for some time. Several actors are involved in funding and ensuring social welfare," it said.