The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) recently revealed that over 130 million Nigerians live below the poverty line.
What this yearly statistical report means is that nearly half of the country’s population is poor.
The reports by the NBS raised countless mixed feelings and burning questions among local and international analysts, who were surprised at the alarming figure despite the country’s extensive oil wealth.
The discovery of oil in Nigeria in the 1950s was predicted to be the breakthrough the country needed to move into advanced infrastructural and human capacity development.
According to experts’ predictions, the sale of the country’s crude oil will enable successive governments to carry out massive reforms that will make the average citizen live comfortably above the poverty line.
However, it is displeasing to note that, after decades of crude oil sales, the country still wallows in the abyss of economic uncertainties.
A surgical look at the data available on the website of the National Bureau of Statistics shows the unemployment rate in the country is at 33.3 percent. This means that, even with its oil wealth, Nigeria still has one of the highest rates of unemployment in the world.
For a country to be headed towards the path of a development utopia, it must first of all address the issues of unemployment and poverty.
Tackling issues such as these, require the application of the theory of comparative advantage. This theory involves harnessing what we have to solve our problems. Nigeria ought to have used the proceeds from the sale of oil to tackle unemployment over the years.
Corruption, political instability, and other factors have prevented the country from achieving developmental long-term goals. The level of infrastructural development in many gulf countries namely, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait, will make you wonder what successive governments have been using the monies from the sales of crude oil for.
According to Analysts, the root cause of the problems that Nigeria has been facing since the discovery of oil is leadership. Nigeria and many other nations have proven that a country can possess almost all the natural resources in the world, yet the majority of its citizens remain poor due to mismanagement by the government.
To rescue the country from its current challenges, experts have concluded that a non-negotiable solution to the problem facing the country is the need for good leadership and diversification of the economy.
Also, there is a need for the country to explore other non-oil sectors. The overreliance on crude oil has done more than good to the economy.