High Nigeria food costs push 7 million into poverty: World Bank

High inflation driven by soaring food prices has pushed seven million Nigerians into poverty, the World Bank said.

In a new report, it commended Nigeria for buttressing its economy from the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic but called for urgent measures to brake inflation and protect livelihoods.

A major crude exporter, Africa’s largest and most populous economy again slipped into a recession in late 2020 hurt by lower oil prices and the pandemic, but unexpectedly emerged from the slump in February.

In May, year-on-year inflation dipped to 17.93 percent, just below the four-year high of 18.17 percent registered in March, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

The food price increase in May was at 22.28 percent.

“Food prices accounted for over 60% of the total increase in inflation. Rising prices have pushed an estimated 7 million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020 alone,” its report published on Tuesday said.

The World Poverty Clock, which uses UN, IMF and World Bank data to monitor progress against poverty, reports Nigeria had 41 percent of its population or nearly 87 million people living in extreme poverty on less than $1.90 per day.

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