- Govt Can Reverse Unemployment With Effective Policies –Ezekwesili
A former Minister of Education, Mrs. Obiageli Ezekwesili, has called on the Federal Government to urgently reverse the rising trend of unemployment and skills deficit among Nigerian youths to prevent obvious economic and social consequences.
While commenting on a report by Stutern, an internship and entry-level employment portal, titled: ‘The Nigerian Graduate’, she said that the bleak employment prospect of millions of Nigerian youths should be a major concern to policymakers.
According to her, data and analysis improve the quality of policy or private sector response to the problem.
The former minister noted that low skills, lack of competitiveness of young people as well as the slowly changing structure of the economies in Africa were time bombs for governments.
Ezekwesili stated, “Not all solutions to youth unemployment are effective as countries have since come to learn after years of failure of poorly thought policy responses. It is, however, widely agreed that the problem must attract the fiercest urgency of action from a diverse range of stakeholders that includes governments, the private sector, the education system and sector, the jobless and the wider Nigerian society.
“In no continent is effective policy response to youth unemployment more necessary than in Africa and in no country is it more desperate than Nigeria.
“Data of these kinds throw up and properly situate the joblessness challenge as a matter of two factors namely, un-employability (skills deficit) and narrow employment opportunities (small sized labour market).”
She said findings from the report showed that there were underlying issues that seldom receive thoughtful responses either by the government, education policymakers, academic institutions, the business sector and owners, families and young people.
According to her, all these factors must be further discussed and the solutions that can help improve the competitiveness, adequacy and quality of skills of young people leaving the school system should be designed.
“On the other hand, it should ignite a mix of policy responses and effective partnership between the government and the private sector that will help structurally transform, expand and grow the economy to offer more opportunities to the young who enter the labour market,” she added.
The Stutern report had revealed a prevalent under compensation for fresh Nigerian graduates with one in four of them earning less than N20,000 in their first jobs.
It also showed that 75 per cent of new graduates earned less than N50,000 in their first jobs and over 80 per cent of the respondent said they could neither afford to buy a car nor rent an apartment from their salaries.
The report showed that the majority of the graduates had their first jobs in the education sector as a result of the National Youth Service Corps programme, while the technology, non-profit, banking, and finance sectors began to absorb more graduates as their second jobs.
Findings from the report showed that there were more unemployed Ordinary National and Higher National Diploma holders, while the most employed Nigerians possessed Masters of Business Administration and doctorate degrees.
COVID-19 Vaccine: Crude Oil Extends Gain to $48 Per Barrel on Wednesday
Oil prices rose further on Wednesday as hope for an effective COVID-19 vaccine and the news that the United States of America’s President-elect, Joe Biden has begun transition to the White House bolstered crude oil demand.
Brent crude oil, a Nigerian type of oil, gained 1.63 percent or 78 cents to $48.64 per barrel at 11:50 am Nigerian time on Wednesday.
The United States West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil rose by 1.36 percent or 61 cents to $45.52 per barrel.
OPEC Basket surged the most in terms of gain, adding 3.16 percent or $1.37 to $44.75 per barrel.
This was after AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech announced the positive results of their trials.
Moderna and Pfizer had claimed over 90 percent effective rate in trials while AstraZeneca said its COVID-19 vaccine was 70 percent effective in trials but could hit 90 percent going forward.
“The possibility of having a vaccine next year increases the odds that we’re going to see demand return in the new year,” said Phil Flynn, senior analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.
Also, the decision of President-elect Joe Biden to bring Janet Yellen, the former Chair of Federal Reserve, back as a Treasury Secretary of the United States is fueling demand and strong confidence across global financial markets.
“President-elect Biden’s cabinet choices, particularly Janet Yellen’s Treasury Secretary position, are adding to upside momentum across a broad space of asset classes,” said Jim Ritterbusch of Ritterbusch and Associates.
Seyi Makinde Proposes N266.6 Billion Budget for Oyo State in 2021
The Executive Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, has presented the Oyo State Budget Proposal for the 2021 Fiscal Year to the Oyo State House of Assembly on Monday.
The proposed budget titled “Budget of Continued Consolidation” was said to be prepared with input from stakeholders in all seven geopolitical zones of Oyo state.
Governor Makinde disclosed this via his official Twitter handle @seyiamakinde.
According to the governor, the proposed recurrent expenditure stood at N136,262,990,009.41 while the proposed capital expenditure was N130,381,283,295.63. Bringing the total proposed budget to N266,6444,273,305.04.
The administration aimed to implement at least 70 percent of the proposed budget if approved.
He said “The total budgeted sum is ₦266,644,273,305.04. The Recurrent Expenditure is ₦136,262,990,009.41 while the Capital Expenditure is ₦130,381,283,295.63. We are again, aiming for at least 70% implementation of the budget.”
He added that “It was my honour to present the Oyo State Budget Proposal for the 2021 Fiscal Year to the Oyo State House of Assembly, today. This Budget of Continued Consolidation was prepared with input from stakeholders in all seven geopolitical zones of our state.”
World Bank Expects Nigeria’s Per Capita Income to Dip to 40 Years Low in 2020
The World Bank has raised concern about Nigeria’s rising debt service cost, saying it could incapacitate the nation from necessary infrastructure development and growth.
The multilateral financial institution said the nation’s per capita income could plunge to 40 years low in 2020.
According to Mr. Shubham Chaudhuri, Country Director for World Bank in Nigeria, the decline in global oil prices had impacted government finances, remittances from the diaspora and the balance of payments.
Chaudhuri, who spoke during the 26th Nigerian Economic Summit organised by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group and the Federal Government, said while the nation’s debt is between 20 to 30 percent, rising debt service remains the bane of its numerous financial issues and growth.
“Nigeria’s problem is that the debt service takes a big part of the government revenue,” he said.
He said, “Crisis like this is often what it takes to bring a nation together to have that consensus within the political, business, government, military, civil society to say, ‘We have to do something that departs from business as usual.’
“And for Nigeria, this is a critical juncture. With the contraction in GDP that could happen this year, Nigeria’s per capita income could be around what it was in 1980 – four decades ago.”
Nigeria’s per capita income stood at $847.40 in 1980, according to data from the World Bank. It rose to $3,222.69 in 2014 before falling to $2,229.9 in 2019.
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