- Category: DANIEL ELOMBAH
- Published on Monday, 11 June 2012 14:01
- Written by Daniel Elombah
Going by the strident reactions to Mallam Nasir el Rufai’s, article, 'Anambra’s budget of misplaced priorities', published on Elombah.com last Friday, it appears that fellow Anambrarians have ignored my advice in part 1 of this series to make this criticism of Anambra State by Mallam el-Rufai a debate on verification of facts, quest for
knowledge and superior ideas and self examination, rather than attempting to stoke ethnic animosities, inter-regional disaffection, inter-part rivalries or evocation of sentiments or to view it as a personal attack on Governor Peter Obi's administration.
In the said article, El Rufai among other things decried the “disappointing” high rate of unemployment, poverty and infrastructure deficits in Anambra and stated that the State risks remaining “a state with big prospects and very little growth”.
It is my intention to beam my searchlight on El-Rufai’s analyses of Anambra’s political economy, Governor Peter Obi’s reaction and sundry issues arising therefrom.
Today however, I will refocus on what El Rufai has to say on the incidence of poverty in Anambra state. Aside bursting a few other myths about the relative prosperity of the South east region in general, vis-s-vis other regions in Nigeria, the erudite Mallam wrote:
“The incidence of poverty in the state is very high – actually disappointing. The South East has a food poor incidence of 41.0% of which 60.9% is absolutely poor, while 66.5% is relatively poor and 56.8% live under a dollar a day. Anambra has a poverty index of 22.8%, the third highest in the South East, and shares the 6th lowest position in Nigeria with Rivers State which also has 22.8%. About 47.6% of the state’s population is core poor, 45.0% is moderately poor and only 7.4% of the state’s population is classified as none poor. Income inequality as measured by changes in Gini co-efficient between 2003 and 2010 increased slightly by 7.6% as against 18.1% for Ebonyi and Enugu states 7.5% increase.”
What particularly captured my interest is el Rufai's assertion that: “About 47.6% of the state’s population is core poor, 45.0% is moderately poor and only 7.4% of the state’s population is classified as none poor.”
Now, in the computation of poverty indicators, there are four different approaches; Absolute, Relative, Dollar/day, Food Poverty and Subjective Poverty Measurement approach.
What is curious is that in Mallam el Rufai’s final Conceptualization of Poverty for my state, he used the Subjective Poverty Measure, which is merely a self assessed measure of poverty based on the opinion of members of Households. Whereas for other states, he used the Relative Measure, which is the official poverty measurement approach, used by the NBS, which I presume, is the source of his data.
Going by el rufai’s report would mean that 92.6% of Anambrarians are poor!
“Don't you think that is slightly misleading?” I asked Mallam el Rufai, in an email.
Why would el Rufai pick his figures above from the Subjective Poverty Measurement approach, which I think gave the wrong picture and which is not the approach he used for the other states.
For example, in reporting on the incidence of poverty in two other states, el Rufai wrote in a previous article:
EDO: In Edo state, 39.4% of the population is food-poor and cannot afford proper meals daily, 47% are absolutely poor, 57.9% relatively poor and a little below half the population (47%) survive on less than a dollar a day
GOMBE: According to the 2012 NBS Poverty Profile which studied poverty levels nationwide using data from 2009 and 2010, 75% of the region is relatively poor, 71.5% absolutely poor and 51.5% food poor meaning they could barely feed daily.
In each of the above and other instances, El Rufai picked his figures from the purchasing power of state citizens as Indices for poverty, whereas for Anambra state, he picked his figures from the Subjective indices for poverty.(explained below)
The articulate former Minister have promised to get back to me on the issue, but until he does that, and for clarity, the NBS Poverty Profile 2010, which report was published in 2012 used four different approaches in computation of poverty indicators:
Relative Poverty Measurement approach
Absolute (Objective) or Food Energy In-take measurement approach
Subjective Poverty Measurement approach and
Dollar per day measurement approach
Other methods used were the Gini Coefficient (Inequality Measure) and poverty mapping.
Although all these measures of poverty are produced by the NBS, the official poverty measurement approach reported by the NBS for 2004 and again for 2010 is the Relative Poverty Measurement.
Poverty Line is a measure that divides the poor from non-poor. Using the mean per capita household expenditure one-third of it gives (separate) the extreme or core poor from the rest of the population while two-third of the mean per capita expenditure separate the moderate poor from the rest of the population. The cumulation of the core poor and moderate poor gives the poor population while the non-poor are the population greater than two-third of the population.
The poverty lines for each of the measures are as follows:
i) Food Poverty line is N39, 759.49. This Food Poverty is an aspect of Absolute Poverty Measure which considers only food expenditure for the affected Households.
ii) Absolute Poverty line is N54, 401.16. This is the second step in Absolute (Objective) Poverty measure. Here, this method considers both food expenditure and non- food expenditure using the per capita expenditure approach.
iii) The Relative Poverty line is N66, 802.20. This line separates the poor from the non-poor. All persons whose per capita expenditure is less than the above are considered to be poor while those above the stated amount are considered to be non-poor.
iv) The Dollar Per day Poverty line is N54, 750. This measures, consider all individuals whose expenditure per day is less than a dollar per day using the exchange rate of Naira to Dollar in 2009/2010.
v) The Subjective Poverty Measure is the perception of the citizenry. It is neither related to Per Capita Expenditure of household nor the Country adult – equivalent scale. From the survey result, the core poor in Nigeria is 46.7 percent, Moderate poor is 47.2 percent while the non poor is 6.1 percent
vi) Another critical measure of poverty is the Gini Coefficient (Inequality Measurement). This measure can explain the spread of Income or expenditure yet cannot explain increase or decrease of individuals or persons in poverty. In 2004, the Gini Coefficient was 0.4296 whereas in 2010 it was 0.4470 indicating that inequality increased by 4.1 percent nationally
As, earlier stated, there are 4 main measures of Poverty – Relative measure, Objective (Absolute) measure, Dollar per day and Subjective measure.
So when El Rufai wrote that “The South East has a food poor incidence of 41.0% of which 60.9% is absolutely poor, while 66.5% is relatively poor and 56.8% live under a dollar a day”, and then a few lines later added that ‘about 47.6% of the Anambra state’s population is core poor, 45.0% is moderately poor and only 7.4% of the state’s population is classified as none poor’, that gives the wrong picture, as to the position of Anambra State, vis-a-vis other states in the South east, and in the federation.
The reason is that El Rufai used the Absolute, Relative, Dollar per Day and Food Poor indices to measure incidence of poverty for the South east region, while he used an entirely different indices - the Subjective Poverty Measure, which is referred to as self assessed poverty measure and is collected from the opinion of members of Households; how householders view their position- to arrive at his figure that 92.6% of Anambrarians are poor.
The self assessment poverty measure seeks to find out from the Household their view on whether they are very poor, poor, moderately poor, fairly rich and rich.
Unlike the other four measures of poverty which generally measures purchasing power, The Subjective Poverty Measure is the perception of the citizenry. It is neither related to Per Capita Expenditure of household nor the Country adult –equivalent scale.
Using this subjective measure of measurement would mean that , the core poor is 46.7 percent, Moderate poor is 47.2 percent while the non poor is 6.1 percent for the entire country, and for the South east would mean the following:
State Core Pore- Moderate Poor - None Poor - Total
ABIA 63.0 30.3 6.7 100.0
ANAMBRA 47.6 45.0 7.4 100.0
EBONYI 79.1 15.2 5.7 100.0
ENUGU 49.4 42.2 8.4 100.0
IMO 67.0 30.4 2.6 100.0
However, using the other Measurement of Poverty for the Four Measures in the South East shows the following:
State Food Poverty - Absolute Poverty - Relative poverty - Dollar per day (refer above for explanation)
Abia – Food Poverty – 30.5% poor, 69.5% not poor; Absolute Poverty – 57.4% poor, 42.6% not poor; Relative Poverty – 63.4% poor, 36.6% not poor; Dollar per day – 57.8% poor, 42.7% not poor
Anambra – Food Poverty - 34.2 poor, 65.8 not poor; Absolute Poverty- 56.8 poor, 43.2 not poor; Relative Poverty -68.0 poor, 32.0 not poor; Dollar per day 57.0 poor, 42.6 not poor;
Ebonyi - Food Poverty - 63.5 poor, 36.5 not poor; Absolute Poverty - 73.6 poor, 26.4 not poor; Relative Poverty 80.4 poor, 19.6 not poor; Dollar per day - 73.6 poor, 26.4 not poor
Enugu - Food Poverty - 52.7 poor, 47.3 not poor; Absolute Poverty -62.5 poor, 37.5 not poor; Relative Poverty - 72.1 poor, 27.9 not poor; Dollar per day - 63.4 poor, 36.6 not poor
Imo - Food Poverty - 33.3 poor, 66.7 not poor; Absolute Poverty - 50.5 poor, 49.5 not poor; Relative Poverty - 57.3 poor, 42.7 not poor; Dollar per day - 50.7 poor, 49.3 not poor;
Another problem with El rufai's analysis is his over-reliance on some Statistics - which practicality is suspect at best and bogus at worst - to rate an enterprising people whose can-do spirit and main source of livelihood is almost entirely outside the purview of officialdom. We will examine this aspect in subsequent series.
I am sure many Anambrarians would be shocked to discover that their state is one of the poorest states in the South east region, and does not fare better than some very poor states from the northern part of the country.
Let's ignore the South west for the moment, after-all we know who develops Lagos, but a statistics that rates the South-East as lagging behind the South-South and and at par with with the North-Central deserves a second look!
One would however thank Mallam el rufai for starting this debate on state budgets. As he himself puts it: "we want the governors to improve, and not continue to hear their praise-singers."
My next series would be on where Governor Peter Obi got it wrong in his response to El Rufai.
TO BE CONTINUED