Experts kick as unemployed Nigerians hit 23 million – Punch Newspapers

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The number of unemployed individuals in the country has hit 23m, a report by Jobberman in collaboration with Young Africa Works and Mastercard Foundation has shown.
In the report titled, ‘Unmasking the Barriers to Women’s Participation in Nigeria’s Labour Market,’ Jobberman stated that Nigeria’s active population was 122m out of a total population of over 200m.
The report further showed that 62 million of the active population are women and 60m are men.
The total number of individuals in the labour force was fixed at 70m; 30m women and 40m men.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the labour force population covers all persons aged 15 to 64 years who are willing and able to work regardless of whether or not they have a job.

The employed population was fixed at 46m; 20m for women and 26m for men. Individuals in informal employment were fixed at 43m, with 18m being women and 25m, men.
Those in formal employment out of the active population of 122m is a meagre 3m; with less than 1m for women and about 2.3m for men.
This leaves the number of unemployed Nigerians at 23m; 12m for women and 11m for men.
Statista, an online data company, noted that as of 2021, the total unemployed population in Nigeria was estimated at a peak of around 6.3m. This increased from the preceding years when around 6m people were not in any form of employment.
Overall, the rate of unemployment in the country has been following an increasing trend.

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The unemployment rate in Nigeria was estimated to reach 33 per cent in 2022, according to Statista.
This figure was projected to be at 32.5 per cent in the preceding year.
Chronological data show that the unemployment rate in Nigeria rose constantly in the past years. In the fourth quarter of 2020, over 33 per cent of the labour force was unemployed, according to data.
Reacting, a professor of Economics at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Imo State, Prof Baldwin Asiegbu, warned that things may get drastic if nothing is done fast.
“The figure is a reality of our time in that jobs have not been created, and we depend too much on the importation of everything. The future is bleak; poverty is what we are going to face. When there is no means of sustaining one’s livelihood, it is going to be very disastrous to our economy.

“A nation that depends only on oil and is not creating wealth, jobs and/or a favourable environment for the private sector to thrive is inviting poverty. It is going to tell on the prices of goods and services. Those who have the product or service may begin to hoard them. One cannot sell if people are not capable of purchasing.
“If this continues, the future of the country is hopeless as far as this leadership is concerned. There are no unemployment benefits like we have in other nations. So, the unemployed persons may take to crime and begin to terrorise the very privileged few. Such should not be allowed to happen. When such a population as huge as 23m is unemployed, one should not be surprised why crime is increasing.”
“The government needs to create jobs and enable the Nigerian market to attract foreign direct investments. It is not going to be easy, but it is doable. It is because our environment is not friendly to investors, they run away to nearby nations to invest,” he noted.
Also commenting, another economist, Prof Onah Felix, who lectures at the Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu, noted that the country was getting worse by the day.
He said, “Nigeria is getting worse. It was bad before, but now, it has become worse. More Nigerians are becoming poor to the extent that they can hardly feed themselves and this is basically because of the bad economic policies made by the government.”

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