By Ajuma Edwina Ameh
Worried by Nigeria’s ever rising population to become world’s 5th biggest population, an economist and Chief Executive Officer, CFG Advisory, Tilewa Adebajo, says its population has become a liability.
According to him, the population is growing faster than its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Adebajo, who revealed this on Saturday while featuring as guest on a zoom meeting on CityFM programme, “City Talks with Reuben Abati”, said it was imperative for a country to know its accurate population for proper planning.
Nigeria remains the most populous country in Africa and seventh globally.
Persecondnews recalls that President Muhammadu Buhari had on Thursday launched the Revised National Policy on Population for Sustainable Development, calling for measures to combat Nigeria’s high fertility rate through expanding access to modern contraceptive methods across the country.
Speaking on the country’s revised population policy, the President said its overall goal is to improve the quality of life and standards of living of all Nigerians.
But speaking on the topic: “Population and Sustainable Development”, Adebajo said because of the uncontrolled population, the government had thrown over 100 million Nigerians into poverty and the country is now known as the poverty centre of the world.
He said: “Your population can be a liability or an asset. When your population is an asset, you will have a viable population that has purchasing power; industries are going to thrive and the economy will thrive.
“Unfortunately for us, the Nigerian population has become a liability. It is a liability in the sense that our population is growing faster than our GDP. Over the last six to seven years, you will find out that the economy has been in recession twice.
“Even when the economy has been growing, it has not grown faster than the population rate of 3.5%.
“Consequently, we have thrown over 100 million Nigerians into poverty, and now known as the poverty centre of the world.
“The government is spending 90 percent of its revenue to service debts, 56 percent of government spending is from borrowing, and our debts profile become clearly insatiable.
“If you take a look at an indicator like GDP per capita, Nigeria has a GDP of N400 billion; the largest in Africa, but if you take a look at the per capita, we are not even in the top 10 in Africa because if you check our population and divide it by our GDP, it’s very poor.”
Speaking further, Adebajo regretted that the nation’s population census process has been politicized because population is being used for revenue allocations among the states.
“Unfortunately, we have politicized our population census process because all our revenue allocation indicators are based on population.
“The National Population Commission will tell you that they are ready to do a census, and then there will be no political will to go ahead with the census because some people feel that it might not favour them.
“If you don’t know your population, you can’t plan; you won’t know how many hospitals, schools, all the social infrastructure that a growing population requires,” Persecondnews reporter who participated in the zoom meeting quotes Adebajo as saying.
“You need to know the numbers, so that you understand your demography and plan properly. Without those numbers you cannot plan, and that is the problem Nigeria is facing.”