Nigeria struggles against unemployment, extreme poverty

Nigeria’s official unemployment rate jumped by nearly 30 percent this year to 16 million, National Bureau of Statistics has reported.

Another two million people are expected to be unemployed by the end of the year. The negative trend comes just ahead of February 2019 presidential elections. But less than forty percent Nigerians are fully employed.

Economist Eze Onyekpere, says unemployment cuts across Nigeria’s economy.

“It’s also a product of the policy choices you make in the trade and labour policies.

“We have a government with all the greatest respect, that is virtually clueless about economic policies”. he said.

Nigeria overtook India this year as having the largest number of people living in extreme poverty, that is 87 million, according to the Washington-based Brookings Institution.

February 2019 elections are likely to see unemployment and poverty dominate the agenda of political parties seeking votes.

“You set out from your house in the morning not knowing where you are going to, you’re just having the hope that when you go out, you’ll find something.

“Those who are watchers of Nigeria’s economy will have noticed that the economy has been fixated for a while. We have a very peculiar policy in Nigeria that freezes our economy around elections”, an unemployed graduate, Josh Okere said.

Nigeria edged-out of its worst recession in nearly three decades in September 2017 and made bouts of economic growth. But unemployment and poverty have yet to see a positive impact.

Nigeria needs to create four million new jobs per year to reverse the negative trends, a huge challenge for whoever wins February’s elections.