Nigeria’s per capita income may fall to lowest since 1980 ― World Bank

World Bank Country Director in Nigeria, Mr Shubham Chaudhuri hinted on Monday that Nigeria’s per capita income could fall to its lowest level since 1980 this year.

Chaudhuri who spoke at the ongoing 26th edition of Nigeria Economic Summit in Abuja said the decline in crude oil prices had dramatically impacted government finances, the balance of payments and remittances from Nigerians living abroad.

The country’s currency has also depreciated from ₦306/US$ to ₦380/US$ at the official exchange rate this year, while parallel market rate, from where most people source foreign exchange stood at ₦475/US$ at the weekend.

Speaking during a panel discussion, Chaudhuri added that Covid-19 has compounded Nigeria’s woes as the country was still recovering from the last oil price shock of 2014-2016.

“The fact of the matter is [that] recovery was there but it was slow; it was only gathering pace,” he said.

Chaudhuri said between 2015 and 2019, 15 million young Nigerians were in the working-age but only about four million really found the kinds of jobs and opportunities they aspired for.

He said: “Crisis like this is often what it takes to bring a nation together to have that consensus within the political, business, government, military, civil society to say, ‘We have to do something that departs from business as usual.’

“And for Nigeria, this is a critical juncture. With the contraction in GDP that could happen this year, Nigeria’s per capita income could be around what it was in 1980 – four decades ago.”

Nigeria’s per capita income, which stood at $2,229.9 in 2019, was around $847.40 in 1980, according to data from the World Bank. It hit a record high of $3,222.69 in 2014 but fell to $1,968.56 in 2017.

Tribune Online reports that per capita income is a measure of the amount of money earned per person in a nation or geographic region, and is calculated by dividing the country’s national income by its population.

“This is absolutely a critical juncture and I am very hopeful that given what the government has done, that this crisis will also provide an opportunity for that national consensus,” Chaudhuri stated.

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