From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
Statutorily General of the Federation (SG), Dr Simon Harry, has said that the poverty profile report of Nigeria which was 40.09 per cent, conducted in 2018 and 2019 is on the high side.
Speaking exclusively to Daily Sun, in Abuja, Harry said that in the report, the poverty profile of Nigeria was 40.09 per cent, meaning that about 81 million Nigerians are poor.
Referring the 2018 report by Transparency International, the SG said that when Nigeria’s poverty profile is compared to other countries’ result, Nigeria’s poverty profile was a bit higher, indicating that TI must have been right in their comparison.
“TI is free to compare the poverty profile of Nigeria vis a vis the poverty profile of other countries of the world. So, if that of Nigeria is higher than that of other countries they may not have been wrong in declaring Nigeria a poverty capital of the world. One, because if you look at the population of Nigeria, over 200 million with a population growth rate of about 3.2 per cent, we are having a growth rate that is certainly below the poverty rate.
“The standard says that for a country to be fully out of poverty, the growth rate seams to double the population growth rate. But in the case of Nigeria, that hasn’t been the case” he said.
On the poverty survey which the bureau plans to embark on, the SG noted that the idea was not to discredit the report of TI rather the survey is conducted every five years.
“For us starting preparation for another poverty studies is not because we want to counteract what TI said but it is part of our mandate and that is why today we are preparing to conduct another poverty studies for us to assess properly——what has changed between 2018 and 2019 having gone about two to four years now. The situation would have changed either forward or backward. So, it is a mandatory exercise that after every five years, we just have to do that and if you calculate very well from 2018 to 2021, we are talking of three to four years now. The poverty studies we are conducting now is quite different from the one that was conducted in 2018.
” That of 2018 was Nigerian Living Standard Survey while the one that is currently going on is Multi- dimensional Poverty Index (MPI) studies which appears to be more comprehensive in determining the poverty profile of a country than the Living Standards Survey. So, we decided to conduct this one so that we would examine in a more comprehensive way the poverty status of Nigeria in the area of health, education, standard of living and in the area of labour force. So, that is the essence of the MPI that is currently going on now. But beyond MPI we are equally planning to conduct in 2022 the Nigerian Living Standard Survey. That is the one that will help us to see whether what was released in 2018, has been an improvement or not” he noted.
Speaking on the inflation rate and Gross Domestic Products (GDP,) reports which experts have described as flawed and doctored, Harry said that their opinions are not correct, saying that NBS is not only independent, it is strictly professionally autonomous.
‘That assertion is completely wrong and misleading because the production of the Gross Domestic Products determines the performance of an economy. The production of Consumer Price Index (CPI) determines the changes on the prices of goods and services. The production of unemployment figures which is done through the labour force survey certainly follows processional laid-down guidelines provided by the United Nations Statistics Division which is the co-ordinating organ of the statistical system in the entire globe. For somebody to sit down somewhere and assume that the entire process is flawed or influenced by any government, certainly that is not correct. NBS is strictly professionally autonomous and as such the process of producing statistics from the beginning to the end of it is strictly done by NBS.
“And we release our data without making reference to any government functionary. So, specifically, for the GDP, we have our staff all over the federation. And so, we conduct what we call quarterly establishment survey and then again, that is complemented by administrative statistics. For in stance, we collect information from Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and Companies Income Taxes (CIT) as we well as Value Added Taxes (VAT). Again, we collect information on fiscal data from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, both at the federal level and each state of the federation. Again, we collect the audited report of the Office of Auditor General of the Federation as well as the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) auditors general. All these information are compiled and analysed and we get an aggregate Gross Domestic Products (GDP) that determines the performance of the economy” he said. ENDS