ActionAid Nigeria says ‘Okada’ ban may deepen poverty index

It, however, said that there should be well thought-out alternatives to lessen the effects of the attendant loss of livelihoods on the people that would be affected.

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ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) says the proposed nationwide commercial motorcycle (Okada) ban will further deepen the national multi-dimensional poverty index if measures are not taken to address the population involved.

The AAN Communications Coordinator, Lola Ayanda, said this in a statement on Monday in Lagos.

The agency in the statement concurred with the Federal Government that placing a ban on the use of motorcycles and mining activities would cut the supply of logistics and source of funds for the purchase of arms to the terrorists.

It, however, said that there should be well thought-out alternatives to lessen the effects of the attendant loss of livelihoods on the people that would be affected.

According to the statement, the implementation of the ban should be such that it will not further worsen the country’s dire economic situation.

Quoting a World Bank’s report, ActionAid noted that the number of poor persons in Nigeria will rise to 95.1 million in 2022.

“The number of poor people was 89.0 million in 2020.

“This means that over 6.1 million more persons would have fallen into the poverty bracket between 2020 and 2022, a 6.7 percent increase,” ActionAid said.

It said that with the projected 2022 figures, the number of poor persons in Nigeria had a four-year increase of 14.7 per cent from the 2018/2019 figure of 82.1 million to the projected 95.1 million in 2022.

ActionAid said that the poverty rate in Nigeria had been aided by the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, the growing population, the high level of inflation, which stood at 18.6 per cent as of June 2022 and the harsh effects of the Ukraine-Russia warfare.

It said that the development is coming after the Nigerian government said it lifted 10.5 million Nigerians out of poverty between 2019 and 2021.

“Though the President has repeatedly said that the Bank of Industry has created nine million jobs in the country since 2015, and different schemes to create jobs and tackle poverty in the country have been launched.

“These have failed to stem the tide of poverty in the country,” ActionAid said.

In the light of the proposed ban, it called for a robust social safety net in place to buffer the impact of the planned ban.

“In addition, the country should invest in agriculture value-chain, especially girl-child education and prioritise the health and well-being of its citizenry.

“It should enhance economic opportunities while embracing technology to improve economic productivity and opportunities for the citizens.

“In essence, the government should encourage investments and job creation to engage those that will lose their livelihoods,” ActionAid added.

ActionAid Nigeria said that in conjunction with other development partners,  they would be available to work with the government at all levels to create a sustainable alternative for its population.

It said that Nigeria would find it hard to contain crime and criminality and tackle poverty, if adequate alternatives were not implemented before the planned ban.

 

(NAN)