The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has said Federal Government’s target of creating 1.5 million jobs by the year 2020 was unrealistic and ambitious considering the rising rate of unemployment in the country.
NLC was reacting to the latest report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) that showed unemployment rate rising from 13.9 per cent in the third quarter (Q3) or 27.12 million people to 14.2 per cent or 28.58 million in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2016. Titled: “Nigerian Economy and Policy Environment,” the report had given so much hope for 2020. The Lagos State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Idowu Adelakun said: “Creating 1.5 million jobs with the current rate of unemployment in the country is no longer achievable.
“Even if the jobs are eventually created, they cannot be effective as they cannot match the quarterly increase in unemployment. “In four years, if only 1.5 million jobs are created, what happens to those who lost their jobs over four year ago? What about fresh graduates that would have joined the labour market by 2020? We do not see that figure as good enough so we demand more jobs to be created,” he said.
The report showed that the number of unemployed increased by 351,015 in Q4. Director General of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Olusegun Oshinowo said the NBS data was disturbing but not surprising in the light of the economic recession in the last three-quarters. “It is believed in some quarters that the unemployment data is grossly underestimated given our demographic profile, which indicates a huge youth population “We must, however, remind ourselves that the issue of unemployment, particularly, youth unemployment, has now become perennial and preceded the current recession. “Even when the economy was posting a positive Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate, the growth was not impressive with jobs creation,” he said.
However, the NBS report showed that the percentage increase in the first quarter (Q1) and second quarter (Q2) of 2016 was slightly lower at 13.4 per cent and 12.1 per cent respectively. It also showed that 24.5 million Nigerians were unemployed in Q1 while 26.06 million were unemployed in Q2 in the year under review. The report further revealed that the underemployed in Q3 was 15.9 million persons or 19.7 per cent as against 17.03 million or 21 per cent in Q4, an increase of 1.3 per cent and a steady rise in the rate from Q3 of 2016. The NBS said unemployment and underemployment continued to rise for persons between ages 15 and 34, which represents the youth population of the country.