By Yusuf Ishaku Goje
The recently released Multi-dimensional Poverty Index Survey, 2022, by the National Bureau of Statistics has provided the needed resource for issues-based campaign. Sadly, almost none of the gubernatorial candidates are either making reference to it or proffering solutions on how they will address this hydra-headed monster when in Office.
Despite the fact that Kaduna State is somewhere around the middle of the poverty ladder in the Survey, by percentage of the population, the State has more poor (8.04 million, only second to Kano at 10.51million) than the poorest State, Sokoto (5.81 million). In the State, incidence of multidimensional poverty is above 70%, higher than incidence of monetary poverty, which is above 40%.
Both of which are not acceptable by any standard. More disturbingly, Kaduna is among four States that is home to one quarter of the 22.85 million poor children under five. Furthermore, in terms of deprivation, 56% of the people aged 10years and above in the State have not completed six years of school.
A few others include: 29% in terms of deprivation in school attendance for school aged children; 73% of households deprived in sanitary facilities; 64% of households by deprivation in access to clean drinking water; 39% of households by deprivation in housing materials-roofing; and 97% of households by deprivation in cooking fuel.
This is made worse by the rising unemployment and underemployment rate in the State, 44.3% and 22.6% respectively, as at 2020 – according to the NBS. Indeed, these highlights should give any serious gubernatorial candidate sleep nights. As even current efforts by the State government seems not to be keeping pace with the speed of rising poverty, deprivation and unemployment.
Commendably, the government has approved a social protection policy, which was subjected to inclusive and robust stakeholders’ engagement in the design process. However, same cannot be said of the design of the yet to be approved implementation plan as well as the snailspeed and closed process of drafting the bill.
The weak stakeholders’ engagement and delay in the approval of the implementation plan as well as the enactment of the bill will surely affect the time-bound actualization of the target results in the State Development Plan (SDP, 2021-2025). According to the plan, poverty rate (Income) has a 2019 baseline of 84.9% and targets of 82% in 2021, 80% in 2022, 78% in 2023, 76% in 2024 and 74% in 2025.
On the one hand, all eyes is on the incumbent government to see if the plan will be approved and bill enacted into law before the end of its tenure. While on the other hand, if the gubernatorial candidates will buy-into and sustain the ongoing social protection system strengthening, supported by development partners. Or will review and infuse their ideas or outrightly throw it away, the baby with the bath water, and come up with a new system all together.
Regardless of the foregoing option the candidates adopt in the fight against monetary and multi-dimensional poverty, it is important that what they will do, how they will do it, where they will get the revenue to do it and the result we should expect at the end of the tenure is scrutinized by the mandate-givers during the ongoing campaign.
We therefore await to hear what the candidates have to offer and will do differently in fighting the rising and pervasive poverty in Kaduna State.
Goje is a member of the civil society and active citizen.