Poverty to reduce to 27.2% in Nigeria by 2015 -NBS

By The Citizen

The National Bureau of Statistics on Thursday in Abuja expressed optimism that by 2015, only 27.2 per cent of the nation's population would be poor.

The Statistician-General of the Federation and Chief Executive Officer, NBS, Dr. Yemi Kale, represented by the Assistant Director, Millennium Development Goals, NBS, Mr. Iro Godwin, said this during a dialogue organised by the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Millennium Development Goals to review the progress report made by Nigeria on international agreed goals.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs, Dr. Precious Gbeneol, will present the country at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission's Annual Ministerial Review coming up in June in Switzerland.

Kale said, 'In 2004, we ran the first National Living Standard Survey and we estimated the number of Nigerians that were living below poverty line at 54.4 per cent.

'Between 1999 and 2015, if we divide 54.4 per cent by two to enable us draw our target, it is expected that by 2015, only 27.2 per cent of Nigeria's population will be poor.'

Based on the last research conducted in 2010, the NBS noted that the country would need to build about 37.2 per cent of its population to live above the present national poverty line.

Earlier, the Minister of National Planning, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman, represented by Mr. Abraham Taiwo, unveiled plans to make public the nation's MDG information system soon.

The minister said the system, which will be accessible by governmental and non-governmental organisations, would be vital for policy planning and implementation by all stakeholders.

'Nigeria now has a comprehensive map of health, education, and water and sanitation facilities throughout the country. Not only are the locations of these facilities mapped, but their capacity has been recorded and the gaps in capacity highlighted. All these will soon be made public for policy making and implementation,' Usman said.

The minister further said the MDG information system developed by the Nigeria MDGs Office in partnership with the UN Country Team was designed to increase the accuracy of targeted investment and accelerate the developmental progress at both national and sub-national levels.

He added that the NMIS had been useful in guiding the investment of country's $1bn debt relief gains in pro-poor activities, especially in the implementation of the Conditional Grant Scheme.

According to him, the CGS has been successful in encouraging states and local governments to increase their spending in areas of education, health and water.

In her remarks, Gbeneol said the forum provided an opportunity for stakeholders to review the progress and challenges being faced in the implementation of the MDGs in the country.

She noted that the national report that would be compiled from contributions at the forum wouldl highlight progress made in the implementation of the national development strategies and policies, key challenges as well as lessons learned for scaling up efforts.

ECOSOC initiated the AMR mechanism for the international community to assess and advance progress towards the IADGs, which includes the MDGs in 2007.