The World Bank has countered claims made by President Muhammadu Buhari that he has lifted over 10 million Nigerians out of poverty in just two years.
The multilateral lender said in a report on Tuesday that between 2020 to April this years, high inflation has dragged about 7 million Nigerians into poverty.
It titled the World Bank Nigeria Development Update report “Resilience through Reforms”
World Bank said, “As of April 2021, the inflation rate was the highest in four years. Food prices accounted for over 60 per cent of the total increase in inflation. Rising prices have pushed an estimated 7 million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020 alone.”
But Buhari during his Democracy Day speech on June 12 said that the government’s target of raising 100 million people out of poverty in ten years will be realised.
He said, “In the last two years, our administration has lifted 10.5 million people out of poverty.”
Nigeria’s inflation as of May slighted improved to 17.93 per cent from 18.12 per cent recorded in April.
Food inflation was 22.72 per cent in April this year and plunged to 22.28 per cent in May, while in March, food inflation was 22.95 per cent.
“Nigeria faces interlinked challenges in relation to inflation, limited job opportunities, and insecurity”, said Shubham Chaudhuri, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria.
The World Bank report however acknowledged notable government policy reforms aimed at mitigating the impact of the crisis and supporting the recovery.
The lender listed policies like reducing fuel subsidies and adjusting electricity tariffs towards more cost-reflective levels.
The lender however advised on the reduction of inflation by implementing policies that support macroeconomic stability, inclusive growth, and job creation.
It also called on the need to protect poor households from the impacts of inflation as well as facilitate access to financing for small and medium enterprises in key sectors to mitigate the effects of inflation and accelerate the recovery.
“Given the urgency to reduce inflation amidst the pandemic, a policy consensus and expedite reform implementation on exchange-rate management, monetary policy, trade policy, fiscal policy, and social protection would help save lives, protect livelihoods, and ensure a faster and sustained recovery” Marco Hernandez, the World Bank Lead Economist for Nigeria and co-author of the report added.