World Bank Did Not Classify Nigeria As An Extremely Poor Country- Presidency
The interpretation by a section of the Media and some Public commentators of a recent statement by the World bank President, Jim Yong Kim, as indicating that Nigeria is among the world's extremely poor countries is not correct and is a deliberate misrepresentation of facts meant to disparage this administration.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe stated this in a Press Statement issued in Abuja.
According to the Presidential Aide, what the World Bank chief said was that ' two-third of the World's extremely poor are concentrated in just five countries : India, China, Nigeria Bangladesh and the Democratic Republic of Congo…if you add another five countries like Indonesia, Pakistan, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Kenya, the total grows to 80% of the extreme poor'
Okupe said while Government appreciates the challenges of poverty eradication and wealth creation among the populace and is doing everything to address same; it will be false and uncharitable for commentators to use the statement as a basis for concluding that Nigeria is extremely poor or that the Nigerian economy is one of the poorest in the world.
In the words of Okupe, “China which is the world's second largest economy and India which is the world's fourth largest economy could never have been classified by the World bank Chief Executive as extremely poor countries and this is also applicable to Nigeria, which has consistently been rated as having a positive economic outlook by various international agencies and is also the fastest growing economy in Africa”
“The fact is that this same World Bank recently promoted Nigeria from a low income ranking to a medium income ranking economy in recognition of what it called ' efforts of government in reducing the level of endemic poverty in the country'”
“The Bank had also earlier acknowledged that the Nigerian middle class grew by 28% under the Jonathan administration”
The Senior Special Assistant to the President of Public Affairs said the Jonathan administration will continue to combat poverty through a multi-faceted programmes initiative such as the radical transformation of the Agricultural sector which has resulted in a local production of about 40% of Nigeria's rice consumption, revitalization of Sorghum and Cotton production as well as creation of a value chain to boost cassava production and enhance export capacity of local farmers.
“For the first time in several decades, local production of cocoa contributed 35% to Nigeria's Gross Domestic Product in 2013; thus creating wealth for farmers and new jobs for people involved in post-harvest processing of cocoa.”
“ The various Social security safety nets introduced by the Federal Government under the Subsidy Re-investment programme (SURE-P) as well as the ones being implemented by other Agencies of government are surely paying off and will be pursued even more vigorously in the coming years”
The President's aide said it was unfortunate that some commentators deliberately took the World bank Chief's comments out of context and ignored the fact that the same World Bank and many other global financial institutions have consistently acknowledged what President Goodluck Jonathan's administration has done in the last few years to reduce maternal mortality, increase access to basic education and create new jobs in critical sectors of the economy.
He assured that the President and his economic team will continue to implement the various components of the Transformation Agenda and ensure that Nigeria sustains its current economic growth in order to make life more meaningful for all strata of the Nigerian society.
Dr Doyin Okupe
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs