OXFAM Calls For Action To Reduce Inequality In Nigeria
Oxfam in West Africa and Development Finance International are launching the first ever Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index (CRII) regional report.
The index measures, compares and ranks West African governments’ commitment on 3 pillars: public spending, taxation, and labour markets.The report also includes a regional analysis of agriculture and land rights.
As the poorest continent, Africa is also one of the most unequal, with some of the most extreme wealth and income concentrations in the world.
Inequality is at crisis levels in West Africa, yet these governments are less committed to reducing inequality than the rest of the continent.
In Nigeria, as a small but growing group becomes fantastically rich, a clear majority of the country’s citizens are denied the most essential elements of a dignified life like access to quality education, healthcare and decent jobs.
The scale of economic inequality in Nigeria has reached extreme levels, and it finds expression in the daily struggles of the majority of the population in the face of accumulation of obscene amounts of wealth by a small number of individuals.
While more than 112 million people were living in poverty in 2010, the richest Nigerian man will take 42 years to spend all of his wealth at $1 million per day.
According to the report, 57 million Nigerians lack access to safe water, over 130 million are without access to adequate sanitation. Nigeria has the highest number of children out of school in Africa – Over 10 million..
“This index reveals that 69% of Nigerians are living below the poverty line. The report also reveals that Nigeria ranks 157 out of 157 countries overall, and ranks 125 out of 145 countries on the Gender Inequality Index.
The Federal Government of Nigeria and State Governments are exacerbating inequality by underfunding public services, such as healthcare, education, water and sanitation, women’s empowerment and agriculture.
We call on them to reverse the trend to lift Nigerians out poverty. We also call on ECOWAS to provide more funding to the agricultural sector on the one hand, implement policies that will encourage fair taxation for corporations and the wealthy in Nigeria and in the region and put in policies to clamp down on tax evasion, tax avoidance and corruption, on the other.
We need to work very hard to end inequality in Nigeria,” said Constant Tchona, Interim Country Director of Oxfam in Nigeria.
The report also presents an ambitious policy agenda to address inequality in Nigeria, both for the national government and for ECOWAS.
Oxfam is releasing this index ahead of the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development in New York, which is starting today and urges West African governments to prioritize fighting inequality.
This year marks the fourth year of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and acting to cut down on inequalities is one of the 17 SDGs.
“It’s time for West African governments to act decisively. To strengthen this commitment, West African governments must promote progressive taxation, boost social spending, strengthen labour market protection, invest in agriculture and strengthen land rights for smallholder farmers.”
We cannot beat poverty without fighting against inequality.” said Adama Coulibaly, Regional Director of Oxfam in West Africa.