Between January and September this year, 4.07 million Nigerians became unemployed, an analysis of the unemployment report for the third quarter released by the National Bureau of Statistics has revealed.
The bureau, in the report made available to our correspondent on Friday, stated that the number of Nigerians that became unemployed rose from 11.92 million in the first quarter of this year to 13.58 million and 15.99 million in the second and third quarters respectively.
It said between the second quarter and third quarter, the number of economically active or working age population (15 – 64 years of age) increased from 110.3 million to 111.1 million.
The NBS report said the increasing unemployment and underemployment rates implied that although Nigeria’s economy was officially out of recession, domestic labour market was still fragile and economic growths in the past two quarters in 2017 had not been strong enough to provide employment in Nigeria’s domestic labour market.
It read in part, “The labour force population increased from 83.9 million in Q2 2017 to 85.1 million in Q3 2017. The total number of people in full-time employment (at least 40 hours a week) declined from 52.7 million in Q2 2017 to 51.1 million in Q3 2017.
“The unemployment rate increased from 14.2 per cent in Q4 2016 to 16.2 per cent in Q2 2017 and 18.8 per cent in Q3 2017.
“The number of people within the labour force who are unemployed or underemployed increased from 13.6 million and 17.7 million respectively in Q2 2017, to 15.9 million and 18 million in Q3 2017.
“Total unemployment and underemployment combined increased from 37.2 per cent in the previous quarter to 40 per cent in Q3 2017.”
It said during the third quarter of this year, 21.2 per cent of women within the labour force that were between the ages of 15 years and 64 years and willing, able, and actively seeking work were unemployed, compared with 16.5 per cent of men within the same period.
The NBS noted in the report that in the third quarter of this year, 16.4 per cent of rural and 23.4 per cent of urban dwellers within the labour force were unemployed. It added that the rate of unemployment was increasing at a slightly faster rate for urban dwellers than it was for their rural counterparts.
“Underemployment is predominant in the rural areas; 26.9 per cent of rural residents within the labour force in Q3 2017 are underemployed, compared to nine per cent of urban residents within the same period.
“For the period under review, Q3, 2017, the unemployment rate for young people stood at 33.1 per cent for those aged 15 to 24, and 20.2 per cent for those aged 25 to 34,” it added.
In terms of geographical spread, the NBS said in the report that as of the end of the third quarter, Rivers State reported the highest unemployment rate at 41.82 per cent, followed by Akwa-Ibom State (36.58 per cent), Bayelsa State (30.36 per cent), Imo State (29.47 per cent) and Kaduna State (28.96 per cent).
It added that the unemployment population was heavily distributed in southern states, northeastern states, northwestern states, including Kaduna and Sokoto, and two north central states – Nasarawa and Plateau.
It explained that southwestern states including Oyo, Ogun and Lagos, which have large labour forces reported relatively low unemployment rates.
Comparing Nigeria’s third quarter’s unemployment rate with the international rates, the report stated that Nigeria ranked 28th among the international records.
The highest unemployment rates in the world, according to the report, were recorded in Djibouti (54 per cent), Congo (46.1 per cent), Bosnia and Herzegovina (41.7 per cent), Haiti (40.6 per cent), and Afghanistan (40 per cent), while the lowest rates were found in Qatar (0.2 per cent), Cambodia (0.5 per cent), and Belarus, Benin and Thailand, which had unemployment rate of one per cent respectively.
Governors contributed to the unemployment crisis-NLC
The Secretary-General, Nigeria Labour Congress, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, who described the situation as terrible, however, noted that the actions of some governors contributed to the grim figures released by the NBS.
He noted that some governors did not know the link between unemployment and crime, adding that the sacking of workers put them in a vulnerable position, which could lead to increase in crime and criminality.
Ozo-Eson said, “What government promised is that it would provide more jobs, but if we are adding more and more to the number of unemployment people, that is not a positive development.
“Some of the governors are not even helping matters; for instance, the Kaduna State Governor, (Nasir el-Rufai), is embarking on mass sacking of workers at a period when unemployment is a big challenge.”
The NLC scribe advised the government to take steps in 2018 to stimulate economic activity in sectors that employ workers.
Industrialisation, key to employment generation–Experts
Experts on Friday, in their reactions to the unemployment figures released by the NBS, urged the government to place emphasis on industrialisation.
A developmental economist, Odilim Enwegbara, in an interview with Saturday PUNCH, said the only way to grow the economy was through the empowerment of small businesses.
He said, “It is through industrialisation that employment is created. The Central Bank of Nigeria must go back to the drawing board to ensure that those who have access to the official exchange rate are those who are purchasing machinery and plants.”
On his part, a former Managing Director of Unity Bank Plc, Mr. Rislanudeen Mohammed, said, “The strategies put in place under the economic recovery and growth plan have yet to be effectively implemented. For example, for the capital expenditure aspect of the 2017 budget, it was only 15 per cent that was implemented as of the third quarter of 2017 and the Gross Domestic Product of 2.19 per cent projected for 2017 might as well be a mirage.
“Capital expenditure typically reflates an economy by creating more jobs and jumpstarting it towards sustainable recovery and growth in a typical Keynesian economic model.”
He called on the government to fast-track its diversification strategy as encapsulated in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan by supporting growth in income enhancing and job creating sectors like Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, mining and agriculture.
More Nigerians will still lose jobs under Buhari -PDP
The main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, has predicted that more Nigerians will still lose their jobs under the President Buhari-led government.
It said that the President was angry with the voters because they made him to go through rigours of campaigning for more than three times before they accepted him.
The former ruling party said because of this, the President could have decided to unleash his anger on them.
National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, who spoke on behalf of the party, told Saturday PUNCH that apart from being angry, the President “is not qualified to lead.”
He said, “More Nigerians are going to lose their jobs under this incompetent regime. We have said it before that the President is not qualified to lead.
“The President is angry with Nigerians for not voting for him on many occasions when he approached them for their votes.
“Now, he is showing his anger by punishing them. Go to houses, ask families what they are passing through. That is why you will appreciate the damage this regime has done to Nigerians.
“The President is not even qualified to lead as we can see with his actions and utterances. We are, however, appealing to Nigerians to bear with him. The time to change the incompetent regime cometh soon (sic).” THINK YOUR FRIEND WOULD BE INTRESTED? SHARE THIS STORY USING ANY OF THE SHARE BUTTON BELOW ⬇ PLACE YOUR TEXT ADVERT BELOW:>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>