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40% of Nigerians Still Live Below Poverty Line Despite Economic Growth – Minister

The Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Senator Abubakar Bagudu, has disclosed  that despite Nigeria’s recent economic growth, approximately 40% of its citizens continue to live below the poverty line. 

He said this at the opening of a one-day high-level stakeholders’ dialogue on operationalising the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) in Nigeria.

Bagudu highlighted the complex challenges Nigeria faces in addressing poverty, given its diverse population and regions. 

“When we apply the MPI, this percentage often reveals deeper, multidimensional aspects of deprivation,” he noted.

He  emphasised that the MPI integrates various concerns into a single measure.

According to him, MPI  focuses on people who are being left behind in multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) simultaneously.

The Minister  asserted that the government remains committed to supporting the MPI through the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy (NPRGS) and the eight-priority areas of President Bola Tinubu’s administration.

 The operationalisation of the MPI, according to Bagudu, is a call to action for stakeholders to adopt a holistic approach to poverty reduction, recognizing the interconnected deprivations that affect millions of Nigerians.

“Leveraging the MPI, we can craft informed, targeted, and effective policies that address the root causes of poverty and promote sustainable development,” Bagudu said. 

He urged stakeholders to commit to this transformative journey with determination and unity, aiming to create a Nigeria where every individual can thrive, and no one is left behind.

The MPI is a key project of the NPRGS, launched in 2021 as part of the federal government’s effort to eradicate extreme poverty and accelerate human capital growth. 

The 10-year programme  aims to sustain poverty reduction through economic growth and consistent implementation of social protection programs.

Launched in 2022, the MPI represents a shift from traditional income-based poverty measurements.

 It was developed through collaboration between the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), and other key stakeholders. 

The MPI offers a comprehensive picture of poverty by considering dimensions such as education, health, and living standards.

Bagudu pointed out that the MPI provides a nuanced understanding of poverty’s complexity. 

“By measuring factors like access to clean water, electricity, schooling, and healthcare, we can identify specific areas where interventions are needed, ensuring that no one is left behind,” he stated.

Statistician-General of the Federation and Chief Executive of NBS, Prince Adeyemi Adeniran, also spoke at the event, noting that the dialogue had the potential to significantly shape Nigeria’s approach to tackling multidimensional poverty.

 He stressed that the MPI would equip policymakers with the tools necessary to effectively combat multidimensional poverty, using data-driven strategies.

Adeniran emphasized the importance of continuous training and technical capacity building for personnel to produce accurate and timely data.

 He called for increased resources from both the government and donors to sustain the production of data and monitor the impact of interventions. 

“While we acknowledge the support already provided by both government and partners, we appeal for more to meet this mandate and task ahead of us,” Adeniran said.

The dialogue aimed to build on the success of the 2022 MPI survey by ensuring the data collected benefits Nigerian citizens.

 Adeniran highlighted the need for sustainable resource allocation to produce data that would help track intervention impacts and design new strategies to address any gaps.

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