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100 million Nigerians live in destitution – World Bank

 by Everest Amaefule

About 100 million Nigerians live in destitution, the World Bank has said.

The World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Marie-Francoise Marie-Nelly, said this at the bank’s Country Programme Portfolio Review in Enugu on Tuesday.

She said that the bank’s ongoing commitment to Nigeria stood at $5.34bn. According to the World Bank boss, the number of Nigerians living in destitution makes up 8.33 per cent of the total number of people living in destitution all over the world, which the bank plans to reduce drastically by 2030.

She said, “1.2 billion people live in destitution out of which 100 million are Nigerians. Inequality is rising in many developing nations.

“For this reason, the World Bank’s corporate perspective has shifted more strategically in the past year. The World Bank wants to galvanise international and national support around two goals: to end extreme poverty in a generation and to push for greater equality.

“To end extreme poverty, the World Bank Group’s goal is to decrease the percentage of people living on less than $1.25 a day from 20 per cent today to three per cent by 2030.

“The goal is to promote income growth of the bottom 40 per cent of the population in each country. In Nigeria, 63 per cent of the population live on less than $1.25 a day.”

Marie-Nelly said although the World Bank was the largest overseas development agency that provided assistance to Nigeria, the contribution of the organisation to the country was very small compared to the budgets of the states and the Federal Government.

She said if the World Bank’s small assistance could produce so much result because of effective implementation and monitoring, the revenues accruable to the country could do much more if they were similarly utilised.

Giving a more graphic picture of the World Bank’s credit to Nigeria in relation to revenues accruing to the nation, Marie-Nelly said while the bank’s total commitment to Nigeria amounted to $4.67bn by 2012, the budget of the states and Federal Government amounted to $64.05bn in the same year.

She said the World Bank’s portfolio amounted to $5.34bn as of June 2013, while the budget of the Federal Government alone for 2013 amounted to $31.17bn.

She said the bank had shifted from being Federal Government centric to a more balanced federal and state level support.

She said the annual Country Programme Portfolio Review, which the bank undertakes with various governments, was necessary to assess the progress in achieving the development objectives as well as the quality of implementation of the projects.

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