By Okeoghene Akubuike
The Federal Government says results of the Nigeria’s Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) report will be used as a policy tool for targeted resource allocation.
Prince Clem Agba, Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, said this on Thursday at the inauguration of the 2022 MPI Report in Abuja, organised by the National Bureau of Statistics.
Agba said the sub-national MPI, which was conducted across the 109 editorial districts, was aimed at investigating why there was a disconnect between available social welfare opportunities and its uptake.
“The MPI is aimed at influencing design and implementation of projects and also to be used as a policy tool for targeted resource allocation.
“The 2022 Nigeria Multidimensional Poverty Index is not just another poverty measurement tool but one useful for influencing policies.
“This report provides a more comprehensive view of poverty by not only revealing who is poor, but in what way, and to what degree of intensity.
“This had turned it into a very practical resource for addressing the problem of poverty in all its forms and dimensions.
“The 2022 MPI survey results, therefore, equip us with valuable information available for the first time in our country to adequately and judiciously utilise in designing and implementing more efficient policies and programmes that effectively address poverty in a multidimensional way.”
The minister said the official flag-off of the survey took place in August 2021, with the first sub-national MPI survey being completed in February 2022.
He said the survey revealed how poverty levels across the states varied significantly, with the incidence of multidimensional poverty ranging from as low as 27 per cent in Ondo to as high as 91 per cent in Sokoto.
Agba said the set of deprivations also varied quite widely between states with similar poverty levels.
“For instance, in Ondo, educational and housing-related deprivations contribute more to multidimensional poverty than in Lagos, where food security, unemployment and shocks contribute more.
“So, using the MPI beyond measurements but as a policy, allows to tailor interventions according to the deprivation profiles of each State, making them more efficient by making data-driven, and evidence-based policies that will result in greater impact.”
The Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, James Christoff, said Canada was committed to fulfilling the SDGs in Nigeria and around the world.
“On the aspect of securing well-being for all, this report is instrumental in the collection of data that highlights the urgent needs of children.
“The evidence generated by Nigeria’s national MPI is data that can be used for growth and measurement and policy tools for various sectors, ministries programmes and levels of government which is an essential step to responding to poverty reduction”.
Christoff said another essential step to responding to poverty was to integrate gender perspectives.
“Canada believes that targeting gender inequality is fundamental to addressing the root causes of the poor.
“ It is for this reason that we support initiatives like the MPI, by fostering and enabling ecosystems for women and girls to be empowered and reach their full potential.
“This will help them earn their livelihood which will affect the families and enhance the economic growth of communities in Nigeria, ” he said.
The UNICEF representative, Cristian Munduate, said that from the Fund’s perspective, children in Nigeria were facing hardship and there was a need to “put a face to it”.
“We found out from the report that is being launched today that child MPI is above 50 per cent in all states and almost 100 per cent in some states.
“There is a high prevalence of child MPI in rural areas with almost 90 per cent of them experiencing poverty. These figures show we need urgent action in terms of policies, practices and financial commitments.
“No matter how passionate our intentions, programmes and policies are, effective implementation alongside increased sustainable, efficient public investments remains at the core of fulfilling the rights of children in Nigeria.”
Munduate reiterated the fund’s commitment to supporting the Nigerian government to reduce child poverty.
Prof. Sabina Alkire, Director of the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, University of Oxford, said the MPI was a tool for action and called on stakeholders to begin to take action.
“Carry this work to its final aim by taking action to end impoverishment in Nigeria which will lead to a historic change”. ( NAN)