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W’Bank projects 100m Nigerians for extreme poverty by 2022

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`Recommends more reforms as solution for recession

WORLD Bank yesterday projected that the number of poor Nigerians will increase from the current 90 million to about 100 million by 2022 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country’s economy.

  The bank also put the financing portfolio approved by its board for Nigeria at about $11.5 billion.

  An economist with the bank, Marco Hernandez, gave this projection in his presentation during its Nigeria Development Update virtual event which had the theme ‘Rising to the challenge: Nigeria’s COVID-19 response.’

  According to Hernandez, before the COVID-19 pandemic, about two million Nigerians were expected to fall into poverty in 2020 as population growth outpaced economic growth, stating further that by 2022 about 11 million more Nigerians were expected to fall into poverty due to the COVID-19 crisis.

  “With the COVID-19, the recession is likely to push an additional 6.6 million Nigerians into poverty in 2020, bringing the total newly poor to 8.6 million this year. This implies an increase in the total number of poor in Nigeria from about 90 million in 2020 to about 100 million in 2022. Northern states are more likely to be affected,” he said.

  On factors that explain the increase in poverty, the bank said having a vulnerable employment, receiving fewer remittances, and being close to the poverty line were some of the factors, adding that Nigeria’s economy had been hit hard by COVID-19 in 2020, to record its deepest quartrely contraction since the 1980s.

  Also speaking, World Bank Country Director, Shubham Chaudhuri said that in terms of the portfolio size of the bank in Nigeria, there are actually three different ways of looking at the size of portfolios but facility for the $1.5 billion loan which Nigeria is expecting from the global finance power house was still in the works.

  “The first is how much concessional finance. If you look at how much our board has approved in terms of this financing, at the middle of 2018, is about $7 billion. Since then and up till now, they’ve approved another $3 billion in terms of financing. So, that brings us to $10 billion and then with the $1.5 billion that’s being considered in December, it will take it to somewhere around $11.5 billion. That’s what the board has approved,” Chaudhuri said.

  But World Bank yesterday also recommended more reforms to Nigeria as panacea to dipping into worst recession.

  The global finance watchdog gave the advice in a press release issued on ways to  mitigate the COVID-19 crisis in Nigeria.

  According to the report, it was critical to sustain and deepen its reforms to avoid the worsening impact of COVID-19 on the economy.

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