Only 4 States are viable in Nigeria —reportBy Victoria Ojeme

Economic projections by experts show it would be a near impossibility for Nigeria to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 going by the current income inequalities in the country.

Professor Ebere Onwudiwe, a distinguished Fellow at the Center for Democracy and Development in Abuja, said that results from research and development initiatives show that income inequality is the major cause of the high rate of poverty in Nigeria.

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Onwudiwe who spoke at a press conference yesterday said one of this causes of income gap is low economic growth adding that bad governance does not promote equal opportunity.

He said “discriminatory rules of government such as the one that allows a president the discretion to allocation oil fields does not promote equal opportunity.”

“The only way to fight poverty is to reduce inequality in Nigeria; income inequality is positively related to poverty. Nigeria cannot end extreme poverty unless the government reverses the increase of inequality. This should interest us as the headquarters of global extreme poverty,” Onwudiwe said.

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He urge the government to do more to diversify the economy as this will not only lead to the growth of the other non-oil sectors but also reduce inequality based on SDGs 10.

According to Onwudiwe, there is also need for a broad review of labour productivity and reward system to cater for both those engaged in the public and organised private sectors and buttress the level of decent job in the economy.

“Inequality is higher in the rural areas and varies across the geo-political zones, with more concentration in some Northern states. We, therefore, recommend that the government should rethink its policies on social protection, taxation and employment to help reduce inequality in Nigeria, especially in the rural areas,” he said.

In her remarks, Sarah Anyanwu, who is the President of the Nigeria Economic Society and Professor of Economics at the University of Abuja urged that government implement the new N30,000 minimum wage as the level of poverty in Nigeria is more than 50 per cent, even when the top ten richest people in the world and Africa are from Nigeria.

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She noted with regret that the gap between the rich and poor is wide urging that income inequality should be reduced in Nigeria.

“Not only income inequality, everyone should have access in education, health care, loans, power and housing,” she said.

Vanguard

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