Abuja — THE Presidency, yesterday, denied reports by some media houses and public commentators that Nigeria was extremely poor, saying facts were being manipulated to disparage the present administration.
According to the Presidency, it is not true that Nigeria is extremely poor, contrary to interpretations of a recent statement by the World Bank President, Jim Yong Kim, who indicated that Nigeria was among the world's extremely poor countries.
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, yesterday, said: "It is not correct and is a deliberate misrepresentation of facts meant to disparage this administration.
"What the World Bank chief said was that ' two-third of the World's extremely poor are concentrated in just five countries : India, China, Nigeria, Bangladesh and the Democratic Republic of Congo...
"If you add another five countries as Indonesia, Pakistan, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Kenya, the total grows to 80% of the extreme poor.
"While government appreciates the challenges of poverty eradication and wealth creation among the populace and is doing everything to address same, it will be false and uncharitable for commentators to use the statement as a basis for concluding that Nigeria is extremely poor or that the Nigerian economy is one of the poorest in the world.
"China, which is the world's second largest economy and India which is the world's fourth largest economy, could never have been classified by the World Bank Chief Executive as extremely poor countries and this is also applicable to Nigeria, which has consistently been rated as having a positive economic outlook by various international agencies and is also the fastest growing economy in Africa.
"The fact is that this same World Bank recently promoted Nigeria from a low income ranking to a medium income ranking economy in recognition of what it called ' efforts of government in reducing the level of endemic poverty in the country.