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Nigeria’s former Vice President and Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, during the 2019 general elections, Atiku Abubakar has reacted to Nigeria’s ranking as World’s Highest in Unemployment ranking.
In a series of tweets Sunday, he wrote, “How did Nigeria get here? We got here by abandoning the people centred leadership and free trade and deregulatory policies of the Obasanjo years (which saw us maintain an almost single digit unemployment rate and implementing discredit command and control policies that have led to massive capital flight from Nigeria.”
“I have never felt so bad at being proven right, as I am by the report from Bloomberg Business on Saturday, March 27, 2021 that Nigeria is to emerge as the nation with the highest unemployment rate on Earth, at just over 33%”. he continued.
Bloomberg had written an article where the paper titled, Nigeria, home to the world’s largest number of extremely poor people, looks set to break another record: the highest jobless rate.
Mr Abubakar in his reactions noted, “We warned about this, but repeated warnings by myself and other patriots were scorned. And now this”.
He further talked about needless spending by the Muhammadu Buhari’s government, “And with the paucity of funds”, he pointed, “we continue to ramp up government involvement in sectors that ought to be left to private sector, with the latest being the ill advised $1.5 billion so called rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt Refinery that has failed to turn a profit for years”.
“What this government must realise is that”, the PDP Chieftain remarked, “the unprecedented insecurity Nigeria is facing is the result of youth unemployment.”
He said the unemployment rate is lined and connected to the state of insecurity across the country, he added, that, “Idleness is the worst feature of unemployment because it channels the energy of our youth away from production, and towards destruction, and that is why Nigeria is now the third most terrorised nation on Earth. Now, how do we address this challenge – In 2020, I recommended that to immediately and drastically bring down youth unemployment, every family in Nigeria with at least one school age child, and earning less than $800 per annum should receive a monthly stipend of 5000 Naira from the government via their BVN and NIN on the condition that they verifiably keep their children in school”.
Read the cooncluding parts of his tweete – My recommendation still stands, and stands even stronger now that we have crossed the rubicon in youth unemployment.
If we can get the 13.5 million out of school Nigerian children into school, we will turn the corner in one generation. If we do not do this, then the floodgates of unemployment will be further opened next year, and in the years to come.
We can no longer say we cannot afford this. We can. As a nation, we are better off privatising our refineries and the NNPC through the time-tested LNG model in which the FG owns 49% equity and the private sector 51%.
Recall that in 20 years ending 2020, the NLNG had delivered $18.3 billion dividends to government irrespective of taxes and other benefit accruals to the country.
This will not only free the government of needless sopndings, but also clean up the infrastructure mess in the petroleum downstream sector.
I say this because the fastest way to bring down a world record unemployment rate is via incentivised education. An educated citizenry are more employable and more self employable.
Increased education has been scientifically linked with lower rates of crime and insecurity, along with lower infant and maternal mortality, and a higher lifetime income.
We must then incorporate those youth who are above school age into a massive public works programme. There was talk of 774,000 Special Public Works jobs for the youth, which was to have started in January of 2021.
This is a commendable step, but it must be done with proper agenda, rather than propaganda. Perhaps we may want to consider the Malaysian model, whereby with the exception of very few highly specialised jobs, foreign contractors are not allowed to import labour into the country.