The World Bank has said about 15 million to 20 million Nigerians may descend into poverty by 2022 if the Federal Government does not employ policies to improve business environment and improve welfare of the average Nigerian.
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Gloria Joseph-Raji, World Bank Senior Economist, said this at the virtual launch of the 2021 Macroeconomic Outlook of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, a private sector think tank on Tuesday.
“We actually consider Nigeria right now to be at a critical junction in the sense that the achievement of its development goal of lifting 100 million people out of poverty by 2030 was already challenging even before COVID-19 struck, and then COVID-19 has made this even more challenging and more urgent,” she said.
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“So, with lower growth and fewer jobs, and then coupled with high inflation, our estimates are that the number of the poor will increase by about 15 to 20 million people by 2022 from the about 83 million people in 2019. And the 2019 numbers are from the Nigeria Living Standards Survey of 2018/2019.”
Joseph-Raji noted that the authorities had risen to the occasion and had taken some bold reforms in order to respond to the crisis.
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She said they had tried to adopt a market-based mechanism for petroleum pricing and adjust electricity tariffs to more cost-reflective levels in order to free up fiscal resources.
According to Joseph-Raji, the key priorities for the government include adopting more transparent and credible foreign exchange allocation, mobilising tax revenues in a way that does not negatively affect investments and growth, strengthening the management of monetary policies towards the primary objective of price stability.
Doyin Salami, Chairman of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council, said there is need for more investments in the country so as to achieve the desired growth.
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He said, “If the economy is going to grow and people are going to feel it, then it is pretty clear that output growth must not only be rapid. We really do need to find ourselves in a position where this economy is growing at about six per cent, and to move in that direction requires significant investments.”