The Chairman Daily Trust Board of Economists, Prof. Ode Ojowo, has said that despite Nigeria’s economic growth poverty continues to rise. This is even as he added that the nation’s economic growth has had minimal impact on poverty.
Prof. Ojowo, who was speaking at the Business Enhancement Roundtable yesterday in Abuja stressed that the challenge of poverty is a reality in the country.
According to him, poverty is the single “most important threat to the social, political, and economic stability ravaging the Nigerian people; which is made worse by continuing negative impact of debilitating corruption.
He said: ….”various public-sector policies, programmes and interventions that include development partner support, involving humongous amounts of resources, spanning nearly half a century from the 1970s, that have failed to reverse the trend and depth of poverty….”
Citing the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP), the former economic adviser noted that despite the amount sunk into the agency, it failed to address the key issue of poverty.
“Even when the economy was experiencing 7.5 per cent growth, which was more than double the population growth of 3.4 per cent, it had minimal impact on poverty reduction,” he explained.
He therefore urged the government to change the trajectory in order to achieve better result.
According to the economist, bring in the private sector in policy formulation would go a long way to “turning the poverty reduction programme from a relief dependent exercise to a sustainable development-oriented programme.
“how can the private sector work with the government to make poverty eradication (not alleviation) a profitable venture, to enlarge the size of the market for private sector products and deepen the capacity of the consumer for improved standard of living through effective demand for varieties of goods and services,” he added.