The Director-General of the African Development Bank Group’s Nigeria Country Department, Mr Lamin Barrow, has said the Nigerian government’s plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030 is threatened by the high rate of unemployment and income inequality in the country.
He said this while representing the AfDB President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, as a panelist at an investors’ webinar to showcase the investment opportunities in Nigeria’s privatisation and economic reform programme.
Barrow noted that the recovery in crude oil prices, increase in the Value Added Tax rate to 7.5 per cent and elimination of fuel subsidies would provide some fiscal relief for the Nigerian economy.
According to him, there are high fiscal risks due to reliance on oil, weakness in non-oil revenues and high debt service payments, and the other risks to medium-term growth for the country include inflation, insecurity, and high unemployment.
He noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had amplified already weak social conditions.
Barrow, however, appreciated the government’s efforts at cushioning the health and economic impacts of the pandemic on the people and economy, especially through the increase in the number of beneficiaries of the conditional cash transfers from 2.5 million to 7.6 million.