The World Bank has said rising prices pushed about seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020.
This was disclosed in a statement released by Mansir Nasir, the World Bank’s Senior External Affairs Officer of Nigeria, on Tuesday.
The data was released three days after President Muhammadu Buhari said in his Democracy Day broadcast that his government has lifted 10.5 million Nigerians out of poverty.
The statement, which was released in line with the latest World Bank Nigeria Development Update, acknowledged that the Federal Government “took measures to protect the economy against a much deeper recession”.
It, however, recommended that certain policies should be set for a strong recovery.
The statement read: “The NDU, titled ‘Resilience through Reforms,’ notes that in 2020 the Nigerian economy experienced a shallower contraction of -1.8% than had been projected at the beginning of the pandemic (-3.2%). Although the economy started to grow again, prices are increasing rapidly, severely impacting Nigerian households. As of April 2021, the inflation rate was the highest in four years. Food prices accounted for over 60% of the total increase in inflation. Rising prices have pushed an estimated 7 million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020 alone.”
Shubham Chaudhuri, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, in the statement, identified some of the challenges faced by the country and recommended a way forward.
“Nigeria faces interlinked challenges in relation to inflation, limited job opportunities, and insecurity.
”While the government has made efforts to reduce the effect of these by advancing long-delayed policy reforms, it is clear that these reforms will have to be sustained and deepened for Nigeria to realise its development potential,” Chaudhuri said.
Marco Hernandez, the World Bank Lead Economist for Nigeria and co-author of the NDU, also listed a broad range of recommendations.
“Given the urgency to reduce inflation amidst the pandemic, a policy consensus and expedite reform implementation on exchange-rate management, monetary policy, trade policy, fiscal policy, and social protection would help save lives, protect livelihoods, and ensure a faster and sustained recovery,” Hernandez said.