The World Bank, on Thursday, said the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic could make an additional 5 million Nigerians poor, given the imminent recession which is expected to be the worst since the 1980s.
The crisis that is the pandemic, as well as the worldwide crash in oil prices, has set the nation on a downward trajectory. While on one hand, the oil crisis has hamstrung the largest crude producer on the African continent, the pandemic is set to further aggravate the extreme poverty level which already stood as the highest in the world.
Depending on how severe the outbreak of the pandemic is, the World Bank forecasts that the Nigerian economy will shrink between 3.2% and 7.4% this year. Where things do get even worse, the recession could continue into 2021 when the economy could contract 2%, it said.
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In a report on Nigeria’s economic development, the World Bank said, “Today’s unprecedented crisis will require an equally unprecedented response from the entire Nigerian public sector (and) private sector to contain the outbreak and protect the lives and livelihoods of low-income and vulnerable communities.”
The World Bank had previously projected that 2 million Nigerians, particularly women, would become impoverished; the newly announced 5 million people that would be faced with poverty comes on top of the previously announced figure.
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With the threshold for poverty set at those living on less than $2 a day, it noted that in total, 42.5% of Nigerians will be poor. Further worsening the situation is the rise in inflation juxtaposed with a projected 70% hit to oil revenues.
The nation is currently having conversations around raising $6.5 billion in funding with the World Bank as well as other multilateral lenders.
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