FROM the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has come worrisome announcement that poverty is on the rise in Nigeria with more than 100 million citizens earning less than $1 per day as the gap between the rich and the poor continues to widen. The Statistician General of the Federation, Dr. Yomi Kale who made the announcement in Abuja yesterday at a press briefing on “the Nigeria Poverty Profile 2010” said the bureau had reached this position after a research it conducted that covers “about 24 million households selected for sampling”, with more than 100 million Nigerians covered in the exercise.
Available figures indicate that, “in 2004, Nigeria’s relative poverty measurement stood at 54.4 per cent but increased to 69 per cent or 112,518,507 Nigerians in 2010. This is against the background that 38.7 per cent of this population are extremely poor. This is basically because agriculture and wholesale and retail trade which constitute the largest percentage used in measuring economic growth are not employment generating as people farm for subsistence, and retail trade are owned and run by families, thus not reducing poverty,” Kale said.
The statistician general further said that “using the relative, absolute and dollar-per-day poverty measures, NBS estimates that poverty may have further risen slightly to about 71.5 per cent, 61.9 per cent and 62.8 per cent respectively in 2011.” According to him, the survey suggests rising income inequality in the country as measured by the Gini-coefficient which indicated that income inequality rose greatly from 0.429 in 2004 to 0.447 in 2010.