The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, on Friday, inaugurated the National Poverty Dashboard Situation Room (PDSR).
Agba inaugurated the National Bureau of Statistics(NBS) PDSR at the bureau’s headquarters in Abuja.
He said the hub presents a veritable tool for a proper understanding of the poverty situation in Nigeria.
The minister said the idea was to have a data hub of poverty and welfare information with different features where policy discussions can be hosted.
Agba said the data hub would give access to the public to gain more knowledge and understanding on concepts and methods on how poverty measurements are done and how the data can be applied in practice.
“The purpose of the lab. is to have people use it and have an understanding of how to deal with issues that we have.
“We believe there must be transparency and accountability, we must involve the people in whatever we are doing, so the trust gap will be narrowed.”
The minister said the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) Report inaugurated on Thursday revealed that poverty was prevalent in the rural areas at 72 per cent compared to the urban areas at 42 per cent.
Agba, therefore, called on state governors to focus on the rural areas as a way to end poverty in Nigeria.
“I have been speaking about the need to pay attention to our rural areas. The money put into poverty reduction does not seem to be showing that it is working.
” This is because, at the subnational level, governors pay attention to the state capitals as we can see from the results of the MPI report.
“I see a linkage between population growth rate and a lack of infrastructure in the rural areas.
” What is happening is that our poor farmers who produce 90 per cent of the food we eat reside in the rural areas, and are not making profit from farming.
“If every state is making their contribution, you will find out that the prices of food items will reduce, it will be better for our people and we will be removing the issues of poverty.”
The minister said the MPI would help states and regions identify the problem peculiar to them and deal with them decisively.
The Statistician-General of the Federation, Prince Semiu Adeniran, said the PDSR was to serve as a one-stop shop for accessing all kinds of poverty-related data in Nigeria.
Adeniran said the lab. would have all types of tests on poverty to provide useful results at both the national and state level.
” The lab will diagnose, and dissect whatever the problem is as it concerns poverty.
“Commissioning of the poverty dashboard situation room is another achievement NBS should be proud of.
“We thank the Minister and the Minister of State for Finance, Budget and National Planning for their continued support in making NBS what it is today.”
Mr Biyi Fafunmi, Director of ICT, NBS, who led guests on a tour of the lab, said the PDSR was equipped with adequate infrastructure and facilities.
Fafunmi said the idea of the PDSR was aimed at supporting the vision of lifting 100 million persons out of poverty in 10 years by producing and disseminating poverty data in an unconventional way.
” The lab has a large screen to display any information on poverty, and the room is soundproof and equipped with adequate security.
“The lab also enjoys uninterrupted power supply and has access to the internet linked to the NBS local network.”
He said some features of the lab include a dedicated poverty dashboard and website which would be interactive; and in-house experts who would provide explanations on the poverty indicators.