Action Aid Nigeria has said an estimated 82.9 million Nigerians are currently living below the poverty line
Ene Obi, the country director of Action Aid who stated this on Wednesday at a programme on tax and development in Abuja, noted that Nigeria’s small and medium scale businesses are mainly driven by young people and women, suggesting that the government credit facilities must target these Nigerians.
She noted that government incentives to grow small-scale businesses would help tackle increasing poverty and unemployment, but pointed out that the tax to GDP ratio remains low in Nigeria.
Obi said the global economic disruption by the COVID-19 pandemic has also brought into focus the impact of decades of inadequate investment in health and education.
“Oil represents over 80 per cent of Nigeria’s exports, 30 per cent of its banking-sector credit, and 50 per cent of the overall government revenue, with the drop in oil prices, government revenues are expected to fall from an already low 8 per cent of GDP in 2019 to a projected 5 per cent in 2020,” she said.
“Consequently, the government has had to review its fiscal plan for 2020 with an increase in the initial 2020 budget of N10.594trn to N10.81trn in a revised budget despite the challenge of dwindling resources.
“In the last year, the government has undertaken various reforms to strengthen its tax revenue base. For instance, the Senate passed the Financial Bill which among other provisions raised Value Added Tax (VAT) from 5%-7.5%, the CBN new directives for taxing transactions, stamp duty charges as well as exploring other avenues for taxation such as taxing the digital economy amongst others.
“Within the realm of these efforts, citizens are concerned that the government’s drive for increased revenue is not taking into consideration the socio-economic conditions of the people, like the increase in food prices, fuel price hike and the increase in electricity tariff.”
Meanwhile, a new data from the World Poverty Clock has shown that about 105 million Nigerians, representing 51 percent of the estimated population, live in extreme poverty.
According to the data, 51% of Nigerians now live below $1.90 or N855 a day.
The data further shows that more men in Nigeria fall within the extremely poor bracket compared to their female counterparts.
Around 53,133,553 million men are living below the poverty threshold while 51,564,303 of women are also extremely poor.
The model also provides a target escape rate that Nigeria must meet to escape extreme poverty—it is set at 0.3 people per second.