- 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.
Egypt Leads Nigeria, South Africa in Foreign Direct Investment
The United Nations Trade Association has Nigeria recorded a total of $2.6 billion in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in 2020, below the $3.3 billion posted in the preceeding year.
South Africa, Africa’s most industrialised nation, reported $2.5 billion during the same year, slightly below Africa’s largest economy and 50 percent below the $4.6 billion attracted a year earlier.
The report also noted that Africa recorded a total of $38 billion FDI in the same year, representing a 18 percent decline from the $46 billion posted in the corresponding year of 2019.
However, Egypt led Nigeria and South Africa with $5.5 billion FDI, an increase of 38 percent from the preceeding year.
The report read in part, “FDI flows to Africa declined by 18% to an estimated $38 billion, from $46 billion in 2019. Greenfield project announcements, an indication of future FDI trends, fell 63% to $28 billion, from $77 billion in 2019. The pandemic’s negative impact on FDI was amplified by low prices of and low demand for commodities.”
UNCTAD also noted that global foreign direct investment declined by 42 percent to an estimated $859 billion, down from $1.5 trillion in 2019.
“The decline was concentrated in developed countries, where FDI flows fell by 69 percent to an estimated $229 billion. Flows to Europe dried up completely to -4 billion (including large negative flows in several countries). A sharp decrease was also recorded in the United States (-49%) to $134 billion.”
FG to Partly Fund Six Rail Projects Connecting All Regions
The Federal Government will pay a total sum of N71 billion to partly fund six rail projects connecting all regions of the country.
In the report obtained from the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, the six rail projects marked for development this year are Lagos-Kano rail line (ongoing), Calabar-Lagos (ongoing), and Ajaokuta-Itakpe-Aladja (Warri).
Others are the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway, the new Kano-Katsina-Jibiya-Maradi line in Niger Republic and the Abuja-Itakpe and Aladja-Warri Port and refinery/Warri new harbour.
The Buhari administration will also spend N15.1 billion on the development of safety and security of critical projects, airport certification, runway construction, terminal building, among others in the aviation sector in 2021.
Last week, Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation, said the Lagos-Kano line would be connected from the Ibadan end of the Lagos-Ibadan railway and would cost $5.3 billion.
“We are waiting for the Chinese government and bank to approve the $5.3bn to construct the Ibadan-Kano. What was approved a year ago was the contract,” the minister said.
He added, “The moment I announced that the Federal Government had awarded a contract of $5.3bn to CCECC (China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation) to construct Ibadan-Kano, people assumed the money had come in; no.
“We have not got the money, which is a year after we applied for the loan. We have almost finished the one of Lagos-Ibadan. If we don’t get the loan now, we can’t commence.”
FG Launches E-ticketing Platform to Deepen Train Usage and Convenience
In a bid to improve the usage and enhance the convenience of train transport in Nigeria, the Federal Government on Thursday announced the launching of the Electronic Ticketing platform for the Kaduna-Abuja rail services.
The N900 million E-ticketing platform was introduced by the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike R. Amaechi, and the Nigerian Railway Corporation.
Amaechi said the new platform would improve efficiency, promote accountability, reduce leakage and enhance economic growth, as well as save time.
The E-ticketing platform was a Public-Private Partnership project done in conjunction with Secure ID Solutions, who provide and would manage the system for 10 years in an effort to recoup its investment before the Nigerian Railway Corporation take charge.
Kofo Akinkugbe, the Chief Executive Officer, Secure ID Solutions, said as the new E-platform issued 25,000 tickets after a successful pilot test on Thursday.
Potential Travelers can book via three ways:
1. Mobile app
3. POS or Cash at the station
A validator would be used to scan the ticket barcode to ascertain its authenticity before boarding.
Amaechi further announced that self-service ticket vending machines at various train stations would be introduced soon.
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