Author(s): Emmanuel O. Okon
Affiliated organization: Centre for Research on Islamic Banking & Finance and Business
Type of publication: Article
Date of publication: January 2018
The growing disconnect between the improving macro-economic indicators and the growing descent into poverty of over 170 million Nigerians is clearly an indicative of the fact that economic growth in Nigeria is non-inclusive as the country may have only attained what is known as growth without development. Using a purely descriptive and analytical methodology, this paper shows that inclusive growth is the growth that generates employment opportunities and reduces the depth and severity of the incidence of poverty. However, people with disability have in many cases been denied of job opportunities in Nigeria. This paper argues that the country cannot have inclusive growth unless disability is made an integral part of her growth.
It is increasingly being recognized that bringing people with disabilities into the development mainstream will have a significant effect in any plan to cut poverty in the developing world
The United Nations estimates that 10–12 percent of the world’s population, over 600 million people, has some form of disability.Of this total, 80 per cent live in low-income countries. About 82 percent of them live below the poverty line. It is estimated that 80 per cent of all people with disabilities of working age are unemployed. According to 2006 National Population Census, there are more than 19 million persons with disabilities in Nigeria a population equal to that of a megacity like Lagos State. Disability is both a cause and a consequence of poverty.
There is a strong relationship between disability and poverty with a cyclical tendency poverty makes people more vulnerable to disability and disability reinforces and deepens poverty. Disability is an important factor, along with gender, race and caste, that interacts to impoverish people and keep them poor. People with disability are often excluded from the mainstream of society, and hence, may not contribute to the development of the society at all or optimally. The World Bank considers that leaving people with disabilities outside the economy translates into a forgone GDP of about 5–7 per cent. It is increasingly being recognized that bringing people with disabilities into the development mainstream will have a significant effect in any plan to cut poverty in the developing world.
Concept of Inclusive Growth
“Inclusive growth” basically means making sure everyone is included in growth regardless of their economic class, gender, sex, disability and religion. “Inclusive growth refers to the pace and pattern of growth which is considered, interlinked that need to be address together. It is about raising the pace of growth and enlarging the size of the economy, while leveling the playing field for investment and increasing productive employment opportunities”. It is depicted as output growth that is sustained over decades, is broad-based across economic sectors, creates productive employment opportunities for a great majority of the country’s working age population, and reduces poverty.
Inclusive growth is now well accepted as the key economic goal for developing countries. It generally includes but extends pro-poor growth. The assumption is that growth which is beneficial for the large majority of people in developing countries is more likely to be economically and politically sustainable.
The economic benefits of adopting a disability inclusive approach to development are complex and difficult to quantify
The economic benefits of adopting a disability inclusive approach to development are complex and difficult to quantify as a result of a lack of data. One study in Nepal finds that wage returns to education for people with disabilities are very high, ranging from 19.3 to 25.6 per cent. However, “at least 10 years of schooling are necessary for returns on the investment in education to turn positive”. Further work in Nepal, the Philippines, and Cambodia, found that “people with disabilities who enjoy longer years of schooling tend to be engaged in full-time or white-collar jobs which are usually associated with greater income stability”.
The inclusion of people with disabilities in work/employment can lead to greater economic self-sufficiency
In addition, a study across 13 low and middle-income countries found that “each additional year of schooling completed by an adult with a disability reduced the probability by 2-5 per cent that his/her household belonged to the poorest two quintiles”. It is estimated that in Pakistan, “rehabilitating people with incurable blindness would lead to gross aggregate gains in household earnings of USD 71.8 million per year”. The inclusion of people with disabilities in work/employment can lead to greater economic self-sufficiency, which decreases demands on social assistance, although evidence from low- and middle-income countries is lacking.
Economic Inclusion of People with Disability in the Scheme of Growth in Nigeria: Employment perspectives
Considering that the economic inclusion of people with disabilities is a cross-cutting issue, successful results require complementary activities in multiple sectors. These may include health care, rehabilitation (including assistive devices), public education, barrier-free access, transport, communications, education, social welfare and community development, awareness on people with disabilities‟ rights, social security, sport and recreation, and adequate and enforced public policies and legislation.
Nonetheless, participation in economic life is a necessity. People with disabilities need to earn a living and contribute to the support of their families. Economic activity is also one factor that enhances self-fulfillment and self-esteem. Work offers people with disabilities the opportunity to be recognized as contributing members of their communities. Like the rest of the population in developing economies, most people with disabilities turn to self-employment because of a lack of opportunities in the job market. Although many would prefer to have a job with a regular income, self-employment is often the only option available. It is estimated that for each person with disability employed by a company in developing countries, four more generate their own income through self-employment, most of them in the informal sector. In contrast, in developed countries, less than three per cent of people with disabilities are self-employed.
Way Forward for Nigeria
- There should be signing into law the Persons with Disability Bill to guarantee the rights of the people living with disabilities. This law should be meant to protect them and greater protection must also be given to persons with disability to defend themselves in the society.
- Efforts should be made to improve the health status of individuals with disabilities (i.e. they should be included within mainstream health services) in order to achieve greater participation in employment and education, resulting in economic gains.
- Health facilities should be well-equipped to accommodate people with disabilities.
- Low self-esteem and a lack of confidence can plague people with disabilities. Allowing them to have equal access to sports can enhance their gross motor skills, social and communicating abilities, as well as improve their overall health and well-being.
- Given the urban bias in the location of many health facilities, rural inhabitants with disabilities are particularly disadvantaged. As such, effort should be made to provide accessible, affordable transportation for people with disabilities who are seeking treatment.
- Inclusion of people with sensory or physical impairments in schools should be encouraged and provision should be made for assistive devices. In the same vein, government organs and authorities should take into consideration the special needs and requirements of the disabled in the formulation, design of educational policies and programs.
- More effort should be made to include people with disabilities in regular or mainstream work/employment and it should be ensured that they get a job not out of pity but for what she or he could offer. The more employers are willing to hire persons with disabilities, the more other employers will follow, thus more experience of companies that are successfully employing persons with disabilities need to be shared with larger business community.
- Microfinance institutions should organize training for people with disabilities in order to enable them manage their businesses.
Les Wathinotes sont soit des résumés de publications sélectionnées par WATHI, conformes aux résumés originaux, soit des versions modifiées des résumés originaux, soit des extraits choisis par WATHI compte tenu de leur pertinence par rapport au thème du Débat. Lorsque les publications et leurs résumés ne sont disponibles qu’en français ou en anglais, WATHI se charge de la traduction des extraits choisis dans l’autre langue. Toutes les Wathinotes renvoient aux publications originales et intégrales qui ne sont pas hébergées par le site de WATHI, et sont destinées à promouvoir la lecture de ces documents, fruit du travail de recherche d’universitaires et d’experts.
The Wathinotes are either original abstracts of publications selected by WATHI, modified original summaries or publication quotes selected for their relevance for the theme of the Debate. When publications and abstracts are only available either in French or in English, the translation is done by WATHI. All the Wathinotes link to the original and integral publications that are not hosted on the WATHI website. WATHI participates to the promotion of these documents that have been written by university professors and experts.