Economic experts have explained the paradox in Nigeria's economic situation, where unemployment has continued to grow in the face of government claims that of N4.59 trillion has been spent implementing the 2018 budget. While economists doubt the veracity of the claims, others say the budgetary plans may not have included addressing the unemployment needs of the Nigerian nation. In order to stimulate economic growth, economist avers that when citizens are gainfully employed and produce valuable goods, the economy prospers. And these are the indices with which economists judge leaders. Thus, the fate of a leader is determined by how many jobs he has created and how low the rate of unemployment during his regime.
As of 2010, Nigeria's unemployment rate was 5.9 percent. This rose steadily from year to year to 8.15 percent in Quarter 2 of 2015 when President Muhammadu Buhari acceded to power. By Quarter 3 of 2017, the unemployment rate had more than doubled to 23.10 percent in Quarter 3 of 2018. By the same time, the underemployment rate had jumped to 43.3 percent by September 2018. Currently, more than 20 million Nigerians are unemployed while 18.2 million are underemployed including me. This brings the unemployed and the underemployed totaling 39.1 million people out of 90.4 million labor force. The youth: 45 percent of the population accounts for the majority of these unemployed and underemployed group.
On opportunities for work; data from Manufacturers Association of Nigeria show that more than 272 manufacturing plants were shut down across the country in 2016 alone. The import of this is that the economy isn't creating opportunities for employment fast enough. Worse still, UNESCO put out of school children to be fed free in Nigeria as 13 million. But economists agree that since oil, the driver of Nigeria's economy isn't employment elastic, there was a need to stimulate growth in sectors with linkages to job creation such as import substitution industries. In spite of his lackluster performance as president Buhari was once again re-elected last month for another four-year term in office. Buhari's unwavering popularity has caused opponents to say his All Progressives Congress party will collapse when his tenure ends in 2023.
Though Buhari's national security architecture smacks of intelligence deficit, the truth is Boko Haram has been significantly degraded. Now is better than President Ebele Jonathan's era when Boko pursued Nigerians up to the National Headquarters of the Nigeria Police Force in Abuja. Gone are the days when Boko drove in a long convoy of Hilux trucks as they did in Buni Yadi where they killed students, warning girls to stay out of school; and returning to base unchallenged. Though three raids have tarnished the image of the Nigerian Army: Chibok, Buni Yadi, and Melete; it remains impregnable. Also, Boko masquerading as gunmen and kidnappers in Katsina, Zamfara, Borno and lately in Sokoto state should be checked.
By Bayo Ogunmupe
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