By Temitope Adebayo
The Director, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) Centre for African Studies, Nanyang Business School, Mr Amit Jain, has sounded a note of warning that over 35 million Nigerians are likely to fall into the poverty bracket.
This, he said, can only be prevented if the federal government urgently checkmates the high inflation rate, remove trade barriers and provide critical infrastructure for economic growth and development.
Jain stated this at the public presentation of a 10 year roadmap for Nigeria by NTU-SBF centre for African studies in partnership with Tolaram and NTU, Singapore in Lagos.
According to him, since 2015, poverty has been on the high side as more Nigerians are slipping into poverty than climbing out of it, advising that, unless something is done urgently, Nigeria might not be able to address the problem of extreme poverty for 35 million people by 2025.
“We have looked at some of the causes of this extreme poverty endemic in Nigeria which include inflation, population growth and climate change essentially explains why it remains so endemic. One of the best ways to address extreme poverty is to curb inflation , reduce trade barriers for many people to get job opportunities, educate the populace and improve their health to become a lot more productive,” he said.
He added that, “the most effective way to fight poverty in the short term is to tackle inflation and the most effective way to tackle inflation is to drop the value of the naira and this can only be done if monetary policy is tightened.”
He, however, stated that the roadmap aims to put Nigeria back on the path of sustainable growth and adhering to its recommendations would put the country’s economy among the top 20 economies of the world by 2030.
He stated that, while the recommendations were achievable should there be the political will to make changes, he stressed that, interlinked factors limiting economic growth and development must be addressed.
“Irrespective of business terrain, you cannot afford to overlook Nigeria as what happens here affects everyone. Given the country’s strength of population, fertile soil, enough water, sunshine, large coastline, vibrant democracy and a vibrant youthful population, some weaknesses such as debt, limited fiscal space, poverty, infrastructure challenges exist,” he said.
“However, while there are the threats of insecurity, corruption, unemployment, inequality and climate change, massive opportunities exist in agriculture, technology, services and its massive consumer demand,” he said.
Also speaking, a Nigerian Economist, Dr Adedoyin Salami, who was the Chief Economic Adviser to former President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, said Nigeria needs to consider how she begins to lay in the short term the foundation for middle term via re-establishing economic stabilisation over the next 12 months.
Salami stressed that education was where the country’s biggest investment must lie. “The country’s future prosperity is also dependent on her ability to build and sustain an agro economy which education can help achieve.
“If education is sorted, the speed at which our population is growing would come down and we can be more balanced to pursue the skill and enlightenment the country needs to grow,” he said.