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Nigeria is not an 'extremely poor country', Doyin Okupe faults World Bank rating

06/04/2014 21:10

Doyin Okupe, senior special assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan, in a press statement on Sunday, has said the recent statement by the World Bank President, Jim Yong Kim, did not indicate that Nigeria was an extremely poor country.

According to him, what Kim said was that “two-third of the World’s extremely poor are concentrated in just five countries: India, China, Nigeria, Bangladesh and the Democratic Republic of Congo."

Okupe said, “If you add another five countries like Indonesia, Pakistan, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Kenya, the total grows to 80 per cent of the extreme poor.

"While government appreciates the challenges of poverty eradication and wealth creation among the populace and was doing everything to address same, it would be false and uncharitable for commentators to use the statement as a basis for concluding that Nigeria is extremely poor or that the Nigerian economy is one of the poorest in the world.

“China which is the world’s second largest economy and India which is the world’s fourth largest economy could never have been classified by the World Bank Chief Executive as extremely poor countries and this is also applicable to Nigeria, which has consistently been rated as having a positive economic outlook by various international agencies and is also the fastest growing economy in Africa.

“The fact is that this same World Bank recently promoted Nigeria from a low income ranking to a medium income ranking economy in recognition of what it called ‘ efforts of government in reducing the level of endemic poverty in the country’.

“The Bank had also earlier acknowledged that the Nigerian middle class grew by 28 per cent under the Jonathan administration”.

"Jonathan administration would continue to combat poverty through multi-faceted programmes initiative such as the radical transformation of the Agricultural sector which has resulted in a local production of about 40 per cent of Nigeria’s rice consumption, revitalization of Sorghum and Cotton production as well as creation of a value chain to boost cassava production and enhance export capacity of local farmers.

“For the first time in several decades, local production of cocoa contributed 35 per cent to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product in 2013; thus creating wealth for farmers and new jobs for people involved in post-harvest processing of cocoa.”

“The various Social security safety nets introduced by the Federal Government under the Subsidy Re-investment programme as well as the ones being implemented by other Agencies of government are surely paying off and will be pursued even more vigorously in the coming years."

Okupe therefore stressed that the President and his economic team would continue to implement the various components of the Transformation Agenda and ensure that Nigeria sustains its current economic growth in order to make life more meaningful for all strata of the Nigerian society.

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