By CHIOMA OBINNA
A new poll results released by NOI Polls Limited has revealed that only about 2 in 10 (19 percent) Nigerians spend less than $1 a day on food while 80 percent spend over N160 ($1) daily.
The findings which assumed respondents eat three meals a day, said they spent an average of N713 ($4.5) on food daily.
In 2012, the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS published a report stating that about 61.2 percent (against 51.6 percent in 2004) of the Nigerian population (about 112.47 million out of the 163 million Nigerians) were living on less than $1 a day at the end of 2010. The NBS also declared that the relative poverty level was 69 percent and absolute poverty level (minimal requirements necessary to afford minimal standards of food, clothing, healthcare and shelter) was 60.9 percent.
This implied that majority of Nigerians were living on less than N160 a day.
The-dollar-per-day measure of poverty gained popularity among development agencies and statisticians especially after its adoption as the first UN Millennium Development goal to ‘halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1 a day’.
Experts have long disagreed over the model of measurement and it has led to various criticisms including how low the poverty line was set at and even opinion leaders in Nigeria have questioned the findings given the rise in costs of basic essentials such as food, shelter, clothing and transport.
With that in mind NOI Polls conducted a Poll in order to contribute to the on-going poverty debate and generate useful data to support policymakers in the area of poverty alleviation and also serve as a platform for further commentary, analysis and research on poverty in Nigeria.
Key findings from the poll revealed that 24 percent of the respondents spend between N634 -N791 (an average of N713) on food daily, which begins to question the assertion that over 60 percent of Nigerians live below $1 (N160) daily. A closer look at the analysis of the result showed that 60 percent of the North West zone spends below the National average on food daily, while 72 percent of people in the South South zone and 62 percent of the South East zone spend above the National average.
The poll results further revealed that majority of respondents either spent between average of N200 or N120 on breakfast and between average of N280 on lunch and dinner separately. This goes further to show that an average meal per person is above the $1 (N160) poverty line.
Other results from the poll showed that 42 percent of Nigerians eat bread for breakfast, while 22 percent eat rice, spaghetti or noodles. It further revealed that for lunch 50 percent and dinner 48 percent of most Nigerians eat ball foods like eba, fufu, semovita and amala followed by those who eat rice, spaghetti and noodles.
In addition 76 percent of Nigerians eat breakfast at home or food taken from home, 36 percent eat lunch at home or food taken from home and others eat lunch at canteens but 87 percent eat dinner at home.
The poll stated that it becomes clear that there is a need for further investigation, research, analysis and discussion into the $-1-a day poverty threshold to ensure that even with changing standards of living, measurement of Nigerians living in poverty can be accurately captured.