The National Social Safety Net Coordinating Office (NASSCO) recently released a report on the poverty rate in Nigeria and vulnerable households, which revealed that 9.45 million Nigerians are living in poverty.

The NASSCO through its Agency for National Social Register of poor and Vulnerable Households indicates that as of January 31, 2020, Nigerians in poverty were from 2.25 million poor and vulnerable households.

In the ongoing assessment in Nigeria communities, the poverty rate was examined in the 35 states of the federation. It was discovered that the poor individuals are living in 43,258 communities in 421 local government areas and 4,347 wards located across Nigeria.

However, a new report by the World Bank shows that the North accounted for 87 percent of all the poor people in Nigeria in 2016.

The report titled ‘Advancing social protection in a dynamic Nigeria’ hinted that social protection measures implemented by the government had not been able to address the high level of poverty, as well as the negative impact of conflicts and natural disasters.

Specifically, North West was described as home to almost half of all the poor in the country. “Poverty in the northern regions of the country has been increasing, especially in the North West Zone,” the report stated.

According to NASSCO, the building of a database of poor Nigerians would serve as a bridge between poverty alleviation outreach and the poor population within the country. The goal is to close the gap between poor communities and social programs for the poor.

In its official Twitter account, NASSCO stated that “What we are building is an information system that supports outreach, targeting, registration and determination of potential eligibility for one or more social programs for poor & vulnerable Nigerians. Here’s the status of the register so far.”

But the NASSCO figures are debatable, especially when compared with those from the World Data Lab’s Poverty Clock that say about 90 million people, roughly half Nigeria’s population, lived in extreme poverty in 2018. The 86.9 million Nigerians now living in extreme poverty represents nearly 50 percent of its estimated 180 million population. 

In response to the poverty rate in the country, the government through NASSCO has said that poor Nigerians would be receiving N5,000 monthly to alleviate poverty. But a more economically viable option would be targeting Nigerians who have the entrepreneurial acumen to manage funds. This will have a positive effect on the country than giving money each to millions of Nigerians.

By Ahmed Iyanda.

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