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The unemployment time bomb

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, recently revealed that the nation’s unemployment rate may reach 33.5 per cent in 2020. The minister who disclosed this in Abuja at a workshop on “Breaking the Resilience of High unemployment rate in the country” described the nation’s unemployment rate as ‘alarming.’ Latest figures from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show that Nigeria’s unemployment rate stands at 23.1 per cent, up from 18.8 per cent two years ago.

Therefore, the forecast of 33.5 per cent unemployment rate by 2020 will represent a phenomenal increase in Nigeria’s unemployment history. It underscores the need for government to urgently address the problem forthwith before it escalates. We say this because failure by the government to tackle the rising unemployment rate could be dangerous. However, there is hope that the government’s social intervention programmes targeted at reducing unemployment and poverty will go a long way in addressing the situation. The good news is that National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) of the Buhari administration is still on course. The NSIP is part of the government’s three year (2017-2020) Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

Nevertheless, government should take the unemployment rate prediction as a wake-up call to initiate pragmatic measures to create more jobs. For instance, the United Nations Environmental Ecosystem Based Adaption for Food Security Assembly (UNEP-EBAFOSA), recently enjoined Nigeria and other African countries to substantially reduce the increasing youth unemployment.

The UN agency recommended that the government should create 11 million new jobs every year to solve the problem. Interestingly, the Federal Government has indicated that an estimated 600 million new jobs would be needed by the year 2030.  It also said that approximately 40 million jobs would be needed annually to achieve this objective.

To achieve Goal 8 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which aims to ‘promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all’, government should prioritise massive job creation  now.                                 

We are also concerned about the rising rate of unemployment across all ages. Therefore, the ticking time bomb should not be allowed to explode. This is the time for meaningful progress to be made to avoid the present danger that this problem portends for the country’s economy and security. The government should rise to the challenge. Nigeria has over 98 million hectares of arable land of which 72.2 million hectares are cultivable. Regrettably, only 34.2 million hectares have been cultivated.           

This is why investment in agriculture should be pursued with renewed vigour.  All tiers of government should create more jobs and make agriculture attractive.         

There is also need to make credit accessible at a single digit interest rate so that people who want to invest in agriculture, technical and other vocations can do so with ease. We believe that failure to deal with the upsurge in unemployment is an invitation to anarchy and we may not be able to grapple with the unpleasant consequences. Therefore, solving the problem of unemployment is a task every level of government should give priority attention in its socio-economic development agenda.                                  

The nation’s growing unemployment rate is so high and, therefore, should not be treated with kid gloves. Until now, unemployment rate in the country has hovered between 9.76 per cent and 23 per cent. In fact, it dropped to 5.10 percent in the last quarter of 2010. The recent report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) that Nigeria has reached 50 per cent on the global misery index also underscores the urgency to address the rising unemployment.                                                        

Let the nation’s growing unemployment rate be checked now before it gets out of control. It is not enough to make promises on job creation. Government should strive to fulfill them. Therefore, we urge the government to rise to the challenge and create more jobs for Nigerians.


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Posted by on May 14 2019. Filed under Economy, Latest Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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