Shubham Chaudhuri, World Bank’s country director for Nigeria, says the country’s per capita income is at the same level as 1981.
Speaking on Monday during a panel session at the 27th Nigerian Economic Summit (NES#27), he said the country needs to make strategic decisions to set it on the path to realising its potential.
The summit is themed ‘Securing Our Future: The Fierce Urgency of Now’.
Per capita income (PCI) measures the average income earned per person in a given country in a specified year. It is calculated by dividing the country’s total income by its total population.
In 1981, according to World Bank data, Nigeria’s PCI was $2,180.2 and $2,097 in 2020.
“Nigeria today has real per capita income that was the same as 40 years — in 1981. This means someone whose growth has been stunted,” he said.
“I heard the honourable minister talking about the medium-term development plan, which has all the right ingredients. It will take time to get (the country) back to its full potential — it can’t happen overnight.
“But our sense is that Nigeria is at a point in time where some critical decisions need to be made. It’s almost like the immediate treatment to halt further decline.”
He described Nigeria as an individual with the potential to become a star athlete.
According to Chaudhuri, about 3 million Nigerians come of working age yearly, but surveys have shown that they aspire to go abroad.
“I think the urgency of doing something now is because the time is going in terms of retaining the hope of young Nigerians in the future and potential of Nigeria,” he said.
Chaudhuri advised Nigeria to channel spending on petrol subsidy to infrastructure, education and health care services.