Nigeria’s Growing Unemployment Rate | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Nigeria’s Growing Unemployment Rate

Posted: Jun 16, 2015 at 12:20 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Recently, the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, disclosed that 504,596 Nigerians joined the labour market in the first quarter of 2015. According to the NBS, Nigeria’s unemployment rate increased to 7.5 percent in the first quarter of the year compared to 6.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014. A break down of the figure within the review period shows that it was highest for those within the ages of 15 and 24. This statistics is indeed worrisome and calls for urgent intervention by the new government. 

There is no gain saying that unemployment currently constitutes one of the most critical problems confronting the Nation. Indeed decades of mismanagement and corruption by successive governments in the country have retarded economic growth, consequently reducing the purchasing power of most Nigerians. While Nigeria’s annual growth rates reportedly average over 7percent in official data during the last decade, employment generation and poverty reduction have not kept pace with population growth.

Only recently, the World Bank in its Economic Report on Nigeria noted that “job creation in Nigeria has been inadequate to keep pace with the expanding working age population”. Of course, analysts have attributed the growing rate of crime, including kidnapping, armed robbery and other social menace in the country to the high rate of unemployment.

Even though the Millennium Development Goals seek to address the problems of unemployment and poverty alleviation, the thinking is that the progress has been very slow and presently the country ranks among the least developed nations, going by reports of the United Nations Human Development Index. Nigeria is blessed with human and material resources but adverse policies have led to their underutilisation.

The truth is that government needs to provide the right skills for the people to help them tackle the problems of unemployment. Sometime ago the Honorary International Investors Council (HIIC), headed by Baroness Lynda Chalker, former British Minister of State for Overseas Development, noted the growing unemployment rate and the rising number of poor skilled workforce in Nigeria and urged the government to “improve on its synergy with the other tiers of government and the industry in order to build basic education geared towards enhancing capacity of the workforce for industrialisation of the economy’’. We agree with this view and believe that the earlier the new government implements this, the better for the country’s large number of youths being thrown into the labour market.

Certainly, unemployment, especially among Nigerian youths, has become a source of concern for most Nigerians, and the new government must device a strategy to curtail the scourge.