Letter to Editor: 17 million Nigerians lost their jobs in 2018 alone
In Nigeria, it is common to come across an individual who is a breadwinner for a family of five persons or more. Any employed individual in the country has a number of ‘dependants’ from family and friends. This is because less than forty percent of Nigeria’s nearly 200 million people were fully employed. That was when the going was good. Things have become worse today under President Muhammadu Buhari. The few that are employed are losing their jobs increasingly as a result of poor economic policies of the government.
The private sector has barely shut down. And the government sector is ridden with obtuse corruption. Minimum wage is still N18, 000 even when Buhari raised fuel price to N145. There is low income, low investment and low output. Therefore, there is significantly low spending.
Unemployment rate in Nigeria jumped by nearly 30 percent this year to 16 million, according to a November report by the National Bureau of Statistics. According to a VOANEWS analysis, “another two million are expected to be unemployed by the end of the year. The negative trend comes just ahead of February presidential elections”.
The government is implementing a citizen support initiative called TraderMoni. But instead of using the idea to lift the people, the people are being impoverished the more. Under TraderMoni, citizens are entitled to get a loan of N5, 000 (Five Thousand Naira). And when they successfully repay it, they will ultimately access a higher N10, 000 (Ten Thousand). The government has been accused of forcing beneficiaries of the loan to supply details of Voters’ Cards. They must vote for Buhari. They are cajoled to vote for Buhari. That is the bottom line. This idea is poor. Giving someone a loan of N5000 to trade in Nigeria is just a ruse.
The VOANEWS quoting an Economist Eze Onyekpere, says unemployment cuts across Nigeria’s economy.
“It’s also a product of the policy choices you make in your trade policy, labour policy, in your industrial, even in your education policy, in your health policy,” he said. “It’s just a demonstration of the faith that people have in your economy and how productive it is and the quality of goods and services you are preparing… producing in the country. So we have a government with that is, with all the greatest respect, that is virtually clueless about economic policies.”
Nigeria has overtaken India this year as the Poverty Capital of the world, having the largest number of people living in extreme poverty — 87 million — according to the Washington-based Brookings Institution.
Nigeria needs economic rebirth. This is at the foot of all developments anyone can think of. And this miracle is not under the hands of President Buhari. He does not have the magic. Nigerians must look elsewhere in the coming election. Things should not continue in this direction.
Mr. Johnson Emmanuel, a former Banker sent this piece from Abuja, Nigeria