- 1.7 Million Nigerians Became Jobless in Nine Months
The harsh economic situation in the country has thrown 1.7 million Nigerians into the job market in nine months, a report from the National Bureau of Statistics has indicated.
The unemployment report, which was obtained on Friday, covered January to September this year.
Specifically, the report showed that the number of unemployed Nigerians rose from 9.48 million at the beginning of the year to 11.19 million by September ending.
The report also indicated that while the number of those employed rose marginally from 69 million at the beginning of the year to 69.47 million by September ending, the labour force population rose by 2.18 million from 78.48 million to 80.66 million.
The report said that unemployment was highest for persons in the labour force between the ages of 15-24 and 25-34, representing the youth population in the labour force.
For instance, it said the unemployment rate was highest for those within the ages of 15 to 24, rising from 21.5 per cent in the beginning of the year to 25 per cent as of September ending this year.
For the 25 to 34 age group, the unemployment rate, according to the NBS report, increased from 12.9 per cent at the beginning of the year to 15 per cent as of the end of September.
It noted that unemployment and underemployment were higher for women than men in the third quarter of 2016.
For instance, it said while 15.9 per cent of women in the labour force were unemployed as of the third quarter ending this year, a further 22.9 per cent of women in the labour force were underemployed during the period.
On the other hand, the report said 12 per cent of males were unemployed in the third quarter of 2016, while 16.7 per cent of males in the labour force were underemployed during the same period.
“Given that the nature of rural jobs is largely menial and unskilled, such as in agriculture and the likes, unemployment is more of a concern in urban areas where more skilled labour is required.
“The unemployment rate in the urban areas was 18.3 per cent compared to 11.8 per cent in the rural areas, as the preference is more for formal white collar jobs, which are located mostly in urban centres,” the report said.
Meanwhile, financial experts have warned that the huge preference for imported items by many Nigerians, if left unchecked, could worsen the unemployment situation.
The Acting Director, Trade and Exchange Department, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Woritka Gotring, said the problem could be better managed with the patronage of made in Nigerian products.
He said the resilience of the informal sector was what had been reducing the impact of the economic crisis on Nigerians.
Gotring said if not for the resilience shown by the informal sector where a lot of people were engaged in various economic activities, it would have been very difficult to manage the economic crisis.
He said despite the fact that a lot of people in the informal sector were employed in one form of economic activity or the other, the infrastructure gap in the country was limiting the potential of the sector.
In order to enable the country to conserve its foreign exchange, he called for policy consistency that would encourage capital flows and promote local production, fiscal discipline, enhancement of local manufacturing capacity and import substitution.
Gotring said, “Foreign exchange rate is one of the most important means through which a country’s relative level of economic health is determined.
“The slump in global oil prices has hit Nigeria hard plunging the country into recession. It is evident that the economy is going through tough times with a decline in inflows and continuous demand pressure on foreign exchange arising from high import bill.”
Also, the President, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Tony Ejinkeonye, called for an aggressive diversification of the economy to reverse the unemployment situation in the country.
He said aggressive diversification of the economy through agriculture and solid minerals was vital as it would help to create more jobs for the people and reduce the level of poverty in the country.
World Bank Calls on Nigeria to Impose Special Taxes on Alcohol and Tobacco
The World Bank Group has made a call to the Federal Government of Nigeria, urging the government to impose special taxes on alcohol, cigarettes and beverages that are highly sweetened in order to improve primary healthcare conditions in the country.
Shubham Chaudhuri, who is the Country Director for Nigeria in the World Bank Group, said that an improvement in healthcare in Nigeria will come by taxing the things that are “killing us.” He said that the economic rationale for the action is quite strong if lives are to be saved and a healthier Nigeria achieved.
Chaudhuri made the call on Friday, at a special National Council on Health meeting which was organized by the Federal Ministry of Health in Abuja. Chaudhuri stated that placing special taxes on tobacco, sweetened beverages and alcohol would reduce the health risks which come with their consumption and expand the fiscal space for universal health coverage after COVID 19.
The country director also said that investing in stronger health systems for all would make significant contributions to the fight against inequality and the rising poverty situation in the country. He went on to add that increasing health tax would provide an extra advantage of reducing healthcare cost in the future, by hindering the growth of the diseases which are caused by tobacco, alcohol and sugar-sweetened beverages.
The representative of the WHO in Nigeria, Dr Walter Mulombo said that he could confirm the large health needs of Nigerians, as well as the efforts being made to meet those needs. He said this was based on the fact that he had been to over half of Nigeria’s states in less than two years of being in the country.
Mulombo then noted that although the coronavirus exposed weaknesses in the global economy (not excluding health), it could be considered as a unique opportunity for a thorough examination of existing resources and mechanisms to prepare for a more resilient future.
Nigeria’s VAT Revenue Falls to N500 Billion in Q3 2021, Manufacturing Sector in the Lead
In the third quarter of 2021, Nigeria generated a total sum of N500.49 billion as value-added tax which represents a 2.3% decline when compared to the N512.25 billion recorded in the second quarter of the year.
This is as seen in the VAT report which was recently released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The report revealed that the manufacturing sector was in the lead as it remitted a total of N91.2 billion, representing about 30% of the total local non-import value added taxes in that period.
In spite of the quarter-on-quarter decline of VAT collections in the reviewed period, it grew by a further 17.8% when compared to N424.7 billion generated in the same period of the previous year. The report also shows that an amount of N1.5 trillion has been generated from value added taxes from January 2021 to September 2021.
That is 40.2% higher than the N1.08 trillion recorded in the same period of 2020, and 72.3% higher than what was recorded in the same period of 2019.
To break it down, the Value Added Tax collected in the first, second and third quarter of 2021 was recorded at N496.39 billion, N512.25 billion and N500.49 billion respectively. It is higher than the corresponding figures of 2020, which sat at N324.58 billion, N327.20 billion and N424.71 billion for the first, second and third quarters respectively.
In the third quarter of 2021, the Manufacturing activity accounted for the largest share of total revenue collected across sectors, with a huge 30.87% (N91.2 billion) coming from that sector. The Information & Communication sector came in second with 20.05% (N53.9 billion) contributed, while the Mining & Quarrying sector came in third with 9.62% (N28.4 billion).
Nigeria has continued to ramp up its efforts to increase revenue from non-oil sectors by increasing its tax collection rates, which has recorded largely significant growth since the federal government increased the VAT rate from 5% to 7.5% in the 2019 Finance Act, which was signed and made effective in 2020.
Nigeria’s Economy to Close 2021 at 2.5% Growth Rate
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has predicted that the Nigerian economy will close its growth rate for the year at 2.5%.
This was said by the President of the LCCI, Toki Mabogunje at the 133rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the chamber in Lagos on Thursday, as reported by the News Agency of Nigeria.
The LCCI leader advised that Nigeria’s monetary and fiscal aspects of the economy should encourage policies that enhance growth and build confidence which would invigorate private capital flows to the economy to achieve the growth. She also encouraged a medium-term recovery plan which is anchored on local productivity, attracting private investment, developing physical and soft infrastructure, and ease of business.
Mabogunje disclosed that Nigeria’s inflation would be maintained at its double digit level within the short to medium term, due to food supply shocks, foreign exchange illiquidity, higher energy cost, social unrest in the Northern region, possible removal of fuel subsidy, and insecurity. She stated that these structural factors will keep on mounting pressure on domestic consumer prices.
She also added that in spite of the non-oil economy’s growth by 5.4%, insecurity problems in some areas of the country may lead to shrinking in production and a disruption of the supply chain. She states that the important drivers of the non-oil sector growth were finance and insurance holding 23.2%, transport and storage 20.6%, trade carrying 11.9% and telecommunications 10.9%.
Others include manufacturing, construction, real estate and agriculture with 4.3%, 4.1%, 2.3% and 1.2% respectively throughout the year.
Speaking on the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Monetary Policy Committee’s decision to retain policy parameters, she mentioned that although the apex bank has been keen to extend credit to the real economy as a way of supporting it, it is a fact that the provision of credit recently has proven ineffective in improving output growth and stabilizing consumer prices.
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