On Thursday, 17 November 2022, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) published the National Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) which stood at 0.257, showing that the poor in Nigeria experience over one quarter of all possible deprivations. The report revealed that 63% (or 133m) of Nigerians are multidimensionally poor. The Multidimensional Poverty Index offers a multivariate form of poverty assessment, identifying deprivations across health, education, living standards, work, and shocks.
According to the Statistician-General of the Federation and CEO of the NBS, Semiu Adeniran, unlike the Global MPI which uses three dimensions (health, education and living standards), the Nigerian MPI added a fourth dimension, work, and shocks in the 2022 MPI Survey. The fourth dimension as well as other added variables such as food security, water reliability, underemployment, security shocks and school lag, were all added to reflect the current realities and priorities in Nigeria. The report shows that 58.7% of adults aged 18 and above are multidimensionally poor with an MPI of 0.235 and intensity of 40% while 67.5% of children aged 0-17 are multidimensionally poor with an MPI of 0.282 and intensity of 41.8%.
The report further noted that over half of the population who are multidimensionally poor cook with dung, wood, or charcoal, rather than cleaner energy and suffer high deprivations in sanitation, time to healthcare, food insecurity, and housing. Also, multidimensional poverty is higher in rural areas, where 72% of people are poor, compared to 42% of people in urban areas. Approximately 70% of Nigeria’s population live in rural areas, yet these areas are home to 80% of poor people; their intensity of poverty is also higher, at 42% in rural areas compared to 37% in urban areas. Based on region, 65% of poor people (or 86 million) live in the North, while 35% (47 million) live in the South. Poverty levels across States varied significantly, with the incidence of multidimensional poverty ranging from a low of 27% in Ondo to a high of 91% in Sokoto.
The economic recession witnessed in 2015-17 had a major impact on Nigerian households, eroding their purchasing power and driving joblessness nationwide. The pressure on disposable income was further exacerbated by the impact of higher petrol and food prices, leading to a higher cost of living in the face of muted growth in disposable income. Although the exit from recession in Q2 2017 was expected to translate into improved consumer spending, a sluggish pace of recovery amid the rising population left consumers still financially stifled. Still stuttering from the hit of that recession, the onset of the global pandemic worsened the situation and drove the country into another recession in Q3 2020.
In our view, the government needs to be proactive and strategic about policies it intends to adopt to resuscitate the economy. There is an urgent need for the federal government to come up with policies to aid recovery and curb inflation as inflationary pressures continue to push many Nigerians below the poverty line. The lack of economic opportunities is also contributing to the rising crime cases in the country just as inflationary pressure has pushed most Nigerians below the poverty line.