From Isaac Anumihe, AbujaChairman of Nigeria Economic Summit Group, Asue Ighodalo, yesterday, said that stagflation is pushing more Nigerians below poverty line, a situation that has over 38 per cent of under-five children experiencing chronic malnutrition and 70 per cent of children suffering from learning poverty (lacking basic literacy and numeracy skills).Addressing newsmen on the forthcoming 28th Nigerian Economic Summit (NES#28) in Abuja, he added that more Nigerians are multidimensionally poor than are monetarily poor.“The World Bank estimates that in 2022 alone, 7 million Nigerians will go into extreme poverty. These socioeconomic pressures are accentuated by rising food inflation and a growing food insecure population that the World Food Programme puts at 61 million as of October 2022. This situation has over 38 per cent of our under-5 children experiencing chronic malnutrition and 70 per cent of our children suffering from Learning Poverty (lacking basic literacy and numeracy skills). Our population face significant security challenges, made worse by the devastating effects of climate change compounding already aggravated levels of humanitarian crisis. Nigeria’s Internally Displaced Persons Index 2021 shows that we had 3.2 million IDPs as of last year.“This year adds an additional 1 million IDPs triggered by flooding that has not only destroyed lives and livelihoods but threatens food sufficiency and security. We live in a time of global instability, regional volatility, and national socioeconomic uncertainties that require that we now exceed our own expectations.“Yes, national revenues are historically lower than they ever were. Yes, we are sandwiched between two hard-hitting economic recessions and a global pandemic. These are unusual times that characterise what could be described as a perfect storm scenario. These unprecedented challenges call for business unusual, governance unusual – it calls for a whole new paradigm to national socioeconomic transformation – it calls for a new level of transformational political leadership.“Our dear country’s potential is not in doubt nor a subject of debate anywhere in the world. The question I have been asked more than any other, as I have travelled the country and the world is – will Nigeria reach and exceed its potential? If yes, how? If not now, when? Let us be clear, we are in tough times and no matter who becomes president in 2023, there are tough times ahead, but there are also opportunities to usher Nigeria into an era of shared and sustainable prosperity.In his remarks, Minister of Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba stated that the unstable macroeconomic space is reflected in high inflation, exchange rate volatility, constricted fiscal space, weak external reserves, and balance of payments problems.This, in addition to social and political instability, has proved the extent of Nigeria’s vulnerability to shocks.According to him, in 2021, Nigeria was ranked among the bottom half of African countries classified as less resilient to shocks by the African Development Bank (AfDB), adding that unfortunately, the country’s vulnerability burden is borne by the people at the bottom of the income pyramid, which could aggravate insecurity.“2023 presents another opportunity to demonstrate a strong political will to tackle Nigeria’s socio-economic challenges. Hence, the NESG seeks to unveil the most critical challenges for urgent attention: these are unemployment surge, huge infrastructural deficit, fiscal weakness, human capital and skills gap, flawed security architecture, and corruption.“This summit also delves into the causes and implications of the highlighted critical challenges. It has designed plenaries and panel sessions to debate and reach the policy consensus to transform Nigeria into a strong, inclusive, prosperous, corrupt-free, and globally competitive and sustainable economy in 2023 and beyond” he said.