The conceptual nature of poverty and why Nigeria is depicted a poor country

Imuetinyan Press John Ugiagbe


In Nigeria the practice of fiscal federalism is synonymous and enhanced by the monolithic oil production. Oil is the mainstay of the country’s economy and there would be no effective fiscal federalism practice without it because oil according to Alm and Boex (2002) constitutes over 85% of Nigeria’s foreign earnings. Therefore oil revenue is linked to the standard of living of Nigerians of which fiscal federalism plays a cardinal part as every state in the country depends heavily on the amount of revenue they receive from revenue sharing. Today poverty is no longer seen from monetary viewpoints alone but a multidimensional term, therefore both absolute and relative terms is used to determine poverty. Whichever term that is used there is convincing evidence that Nigeria belongs to the group of countries that lack the basic necessities for human development and lower income countries with GNP per capita of $US269. This paper however argues that in case of Nigeria, and despite fiscal federalism which Nigeria has passionately practiced since 1954, Nigeria is indeed a very poor country. It uses literatures based on secondary sources of information of past and present to posit the state of Nigeria’s poverty and presents Nigeria a poor country. Indeed, whether Nigeria’s poverty was measured in absolute or relative terms Nigeria is a poor country.

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