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Under Buhari, Unemployed Population Surges by 17 Million

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• Working age rises by 19.93%, total unemployed by 396%

 

The number of unemployed citizens in the country has increased from 6,063,482 in the 2nd quarter 2015 to 23,187,389 in the 4th quarter 2020, indicating a difference of 17,123,907 people who are not employed, figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has revealed.

Under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari alone, according to the NBS, Nigeria recorded at least 282% increase in the population of unemployed people, representing the highest ever since 1999.
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These findings are evident in the new report, Labor Force Statistics: Unemployment and Underemployment the NBS released midweek alongside the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures the rate of inflation in the country.

With this disturbing data, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has challenged the federal government to remove policy constraints to foreign and domestic investment as a measure to create more jobs and wealth nationwide.

The report,  analysed year-on-year, revealed that unemployment rate grew from 6.41% in 2014, the last full year spent by former President Goodluck Jonathan in office to 10.44% in 2015, the year Buhari took charge, representing about 62.87% increase in the rate.

From 10.44% in 2015, the report further revealed, unemployment rate sprouted to 14.23% in 2016, accounting for a 36.3% increase within the year; 20.42% in 2017, a 43.49% upsurge between 2016 and 2017 and to 23.13% in the third quarter of 2018.

While unemployment rates from 4th quarter 2018 to 4th quarter 2019 were missing in the NBS spreadsheet, the report put the cumulative unemployment rate in 2020 at 33.28%, indicating a 43.88% jump from the 3rd quarter 2018.

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By implication, according to the NBS data, unemployment rate increased from 23.13% in the 3rd quarter 2018 to 27.11% in the 2nd quarter 2020 and 33.28 in the 4th quarter in 2020.

Precisely in the 4th quarter 2014, the report put the total number of unemployed citizens at 4,672, 449, which rose by 71.98% to 8,036,102 in the 4th quarter 2015; by 43.72% to 11,549,310 in the 4th quarter 2016; by 53% to 17,671,142 in the 4th quarter 2017; by 18.43% to 20,927648 in the third quarter 2018 and by 10.79% to 23, 187,389 in the 4th quarter 2020.

In correlation with the workforce statistics, the report revealed that of the 101,769,739 within the working age in 4th quarter 2014, about 28,838,131 were classified “not in the workforce”, which accounted for about 28.34%.

In the 4th quarter 2015, the report revealed that the working age population had risen by 3.19% to 105,023,335 while 28,065,412, about 26.72% of the workforce, were classified as utterly out of jobs or outrightly unemployed.

By 4th quarter 2016, according to the NBS data, the working age population increased to 108,591,600 while the population of those who were not in the workforce rose to 27,439,715, which accounted for 25.27% of the workforce.

By 4th quarter 2017, the report revealed that the workforce increased to 112,118,970 while the population of citizens classified as “not in the workforce” declined by 6.77% to 25,581,431 in the same year.

While the working age population grew to 115,492,970 in the third 2018, the NBS report put the population of those not in the workforce at 25,022,378 with a 2.19% marginal decrease.

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In 2020, however, there was an unprecedented rise in the working age population to 122,049,400 while those who were not in the workforce increased to 52,373,932, which accounted for 109% change between the 4th quarter 2018 and the 4th quarter 2020.

The spike, as shown in the trajectory of the increase in unemployment between 2014 and 2020 extrapolated by THISDAY, has a strong correlation with lockdown measures taken to contain the spread of COVID-19 between March 2020 and August 2020.

While the working age population grew by 19.93% between 2014 and 2020, as THISDAY analysis revealed, the unemployed population grew by over 396% within the same timeframe.

Concerned by a record frequency at which unemployment is growing, the LCCI observed that the growing proportion of unemployment reflects the state of the economy.

In a report by its Director-General, Dr. Muda Yusuf yesterday, the LCCI ascribed the country’s unemployment rate to economic meltdown, which it first entered in the second quarter 2016 and also third quarter 2020.

Yusuf, in an in depth analysis of Nigeria’s troubled economy, observed: “It is difficult for an economy in recession or an economy that is stagnating to create jobs.”

On this note, he recommended an effective stimulation to ensure that the economy regains momentum, which he argued, could arrest the worsening joblessness in the country.

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He explained: “There is a strong relation between investment growth and employment generation. And for investment to grow, the business environment must be conducive, and investors’ confidence must be restored.

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“Obstacles to investment growth must be removed. These include the growing insecurity, which is disrupting activities in the agricultural sector rendering many farmers across the country jobless. The sector is a major employer of labour.

“The disruption accelerated the rate of unemployment in the country. Investors are also grappling with numerous regulatory and policy challenges impeding the capacity of investors to create and sustain jobs,” he observed.

He explained the challenges with most regulatory institutions both state and federal levels, which were disproportionately focused on revenue generation, an approach that heaped additional burden upon businesses and individuals.

He, therefore, called for policy stability and consistency to address the country’s threatening unemployment rate with focus on inconsistencies in foreign exchange policy; sudden change in import duties/tariffs and uncertainty in the regulatory environment.
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He urged the federal government to address all the issues around foreign exchange policy and management, especially with respect to liquidity crises and exchange rate volatility

He, also, recommended the need to create “an environment that reduces investment risks and addresses the structural challenges in the economy especially the high infrastructure deficit that has been inhibiting the growth of the real sector of the economy.

“Logistics issues and bottlenecks at the ports remain very big factors in the job creation equation. Above all, we need to fix the investment environment for SMEs. This segment of the economy provides the largest number of jobs and it is very critical to accelerated job creation,” he said.

Credit to Thisday

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Obasanjo condemns call for Nigeria’s disintegration

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Wednesday described calls for the disintegration of Nigeria as unmindful and insensitive to the plight of the minority groups in the country.

Obasanjo made the observation when he received the Tiv Professional Group (TPG) from Benue State, who paid him a courtesy visit in Abeokuta.

The former president recalled a discussion between him and “a military friend”  who, according to him, has described major tribes in the country as selfish and not sufficiently caring for the minority groups.

Obasanjo, who aligned with his friend’s opinion, expressed worry over what would become of the minority groups if the major tribes decided to secede and begin to operate as separate countries.

“If the Yoruba can stand as a country if the Igbos and the Hausa/Fulani can stand as separate countries, where do we want the minority groups to be?

“Now, by virtue of the present situation, they are a little bit protected, but if Nigeria breaks up, they will be oppressed and exterminated,” he said.

He recalled the meetings he had with a number of socio-cultural organizations in September 2020 and noted that nobody at such meeting talked about disintegration or breakup, saying that “all they clamored for was a change for good”.

The elder statesman stressed the need for Nigerian leaders to be mindful of the ethnic diversity of the Nigerian nation, adding that the country would not make any meaningful progress without such consideration.

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Obasanjo, who expressed hope that the rough times that Nigeria was going through would not last forever, urged Nigerians to be patient while the country gathered her goodwill and moved in the right direction.

The leader of the group, Prof. Zacharys Gundv, in a paper he presented to Obasanjo, highlighted the challenges of the nation, including insecurity, poverty religious intolerance, kidnappings, and banditry, among others.

He explained that the Tivs were worried about the skewed narrative of insecurity in Nigeria

Proffering a solution to Nigeria’s challenges, Gundv called on well-meaning Nigerians to be united in serving the country.

He called for intensified advocacy against nomadic pastoralism and an “All Nationalities Summit” to discuss and proffer solutions to Nigeria’s challenges.

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Buhari haunted by his coup plotting past- PDP

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What began as a rumour or idle talk – whispers of a putsch – yesterday gathered a life of its own as state actors kept giving life to the notion, which is turning and turning in the widening gyre.

First was the pledge by the military that it would not overthrow President Muhammadu Buhari, a former army general and head of state whose government has come under strident criticisms over growing insecurity in the country.

In a statement issued by Acting Director, Defence Information, Brigadier-General Onyema Nwachukwu, the military said it has no intention of taking over power again in Nigeria. This, it said, is because it believes that despite tough times, democracy is the way to go and militarism is no longer fashionable. The army also warned politicians nursing ambition of ruling Nigeria outside the ballot box, saying it would continue to defend the country’s democracy.

“We shall continue to remain apolitical, subordinate to the Civil Authority, firmly loyal to the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari and the 1999 Constitution as Amended. We shall continue to discharge our constitutional responsibilities professionally, especially in protecting the country’s democracy, defence of the territorial integrity of the country as well as protection of lives and properties of citizens,” the statement said in part.

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This statement was in reaction to agitation by some secessionist and opposition figures for a restructuring of the government, coming two days after the Department of State Services (DSS) also issued same warning.

Immediately after the army’s pledge of loyalty, the Presidency, yesterday, raised the alarm, warning of a subliminal plot by some past leaders working with foreigners to forcefully sack President Buhari from office. However, it did not provide names of the leaders and their cohorts.

The Presidency predicated its conclusion on what it described as ‘unimpeachable’ evidence made available to it by DSS operatives. It, however, warned of dire consequences of such plot, especially where the citizens have opted for democratic rule, saying the only accepted way to change a democratically elected government is through elections.

In a statement issued by Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the Presidency said: “The Department of State Services (DSS), on Sunday alerted on sinister moves by misguided elements to wreak havoc on the government, sovereignty and corporate existence of the country.

“Championed by some disgruntled religious and past political leaders, the intention is to eventually throw the country into a tailspin, which would compel a forceful and undemocratic change of leadership.

“Further unimpeachable evidence shows that these disruptive elements are now recruiting the leadership of some ethnic groups and politicians round the country, with the intention of convening some sort of conference, where a vote of no confidence would be passed on the President, thus throwing the land into further turmoil.

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“The agent provocateurs hope to achieve through artifice and sleight of hands, what they failed to do through the ballot box in the 2019 elections. Nigerians have opted for democratic rule, and the only accepted way to change a democratically elected government is through elections, which hold at prescribed times in the country. Any other way is patently illegal, and even treasonable. Of course, such would attract the necessary consequences.”

In response to the salvo fired by the Presidency, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described the allegation that some Nigerians were plotting a forceful and undemocratic change of leadership, as a resort to blackmail in the face of failure. The PDP, in a statement by its national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, asked Buhari to look closely at his past before accusing it of plot to overthrow democratically elected government.

“Perhaps, the Presidency has forgotten that in 1983, Brigadier Muhammadu Buhari, as he was then known, led a military coup to truncate a democratically elected government thereby causing our nation a huge drawback on democratic governance.”

The PDP said rather than live up to the responsibilities of office by taking charge and securing the nation, “the Presidency is busy engaging in frivolous allegations against Nigerians.”

DESCRIBING the alarm as false and signs of a jittery administration pushing the panic button, a civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has asked Buhari to quit immediately if the “kitchen has become too hot for him.”

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Bloomberg removes Bill Gates from billionaire list after divorce

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A few hours after announcing his divorce from wife, Melinda, Bloomberg has delisted one of the richest men in the world, Bill Gates, from its billionaire list index.

Gates had, on Monday, announced that he and Melinda who are the co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, were splitting after 27 years of marriage.

“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” the duo had shared on Twitter.

“Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable people to lead healthy lives,” they added .

Immediately after making the announcement, Bloomberg, an international media conglomerate that provides financial news and information, research, and financial data, yanked Gates off its top billionaires’ list where he usually sits in the top four spots.

On May 2, 2021, Gates was fourth on the index with a net worth of $145 billion, having gained over $13 billion in 2021 alone.

Gates became the youngest ‘American Billionaire’ in 1987 and has been on the Bloomberg’s list ever since.

He has also been a permanent fixture on the Forbes billionaire index, often making the real-time billionaire list

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Gates and Melinda got married in 1994, after he was already named the richest man in America.

The divorce is expected to affect their wealth, but the extent to which this will happen is yet to be known as Forbes is also expected to make its position known in due course.

By Isaac Dachen…

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