Nigeria is not the poverty capital of the world, says Dr Abiodun Adedipe, an economist and member of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group.
Adedipe, also a management and financial consultant, said this at the annual forum of The Platform on Wednesday in Lagos.
The News agency of Nigeria reports that the programme was themed: “The Drivers, Enablers and Obstacles to our Growth”.
Adedipe was reacting to a report by the World Poverty Clock, published in June 2018, which indicated that Nigeria had overtaken India as the country with the largest extreme poverty population in the world.
He said: “As a Nigerian, economist and someone who deals with data, I challenge them because none of those who made such claims has been able to prove it.
“When you talk about poverty, you also talk about how you measure it.
“If you say you conducted a survey, then I want to know where it was conducted, how you drew your sample from the population, your response rate and the usual measures of confidence in statistical analysis.
“I haven’t seen any of such and unfortunately, they reel out these data and we begin to amplify it.
“Take for example, someone who is on N30,000 pay per month, he transports himself to work daily, he provides feeding, he pays rent and pays other bills.
“When you add all of these up, they are by far greater than that N30,000.
“But if you look at his income, you’ll say this man must be poor but when you look at his expenses, the picture will completely change.
“And what I have observed is that there is a whole lot going on in Nigeria in the informal sector, which these foreign analysts ignore,” he said.
Adedipe described Nigerians as incredibly hardworking people who think out opportunities in every situation and excel.
“Nigerians are incredibly hardworking people with solid spirits and we do not need to look far to see the evidence. At 5 a.m., majority are out there working and hustling.
“Just as many are complaining about the Lagos traffic, some see opportunity in that situation as slightly above N2 billion worth of plant onain chips, is being sold monthly in Lagos traffic.”
Adedipe urged Nigerians to believe in themselves, be creative and innovative to develop the country.
He said: “Changing the Nigerian narrative is simple – our leaders must walk the talk. We must stop talking ill of Nigeria and then act accordingly.
“Even the foreigners seems to see more opportunities in Nigeria than we Nigerians do, and also have more confidence in us than we have in ourselves.”
Also speaking, Prof. Ndubuisi Ekekwe, Founder, African Institute of Technology, said that Nigeria’s economy would progress if entrepreneurial capitalism was adopted.
He said: “It is sad to note that Nigeria is still an inventive society. We will only begin to grow our economy when we start focusing on innovations and commercialisation.
“The finest moment for any nation is when entrepreneurs rise by creating the enabling environment and funds.
“We need to think as a people because the world is not waiting for us.”
In her remarks, Ibukun Awosika, Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria, called for a national conversation to restrategise interventions that could address the economic challenges of the country.
Awosika urged Nigerians to stop complaining about the situation of the country but come up with innovative ideas that could boost the nation’s economy.
NAN reports that ‘The Platform’ is a non-profit initiative of the Covenant Christian Centre, established in 2007.
Its primary aim is to facilitate growth in the areas of personal capacity and productivity as well as foster national development within Nigeria.