The New Year poll report released by NOIPolls has revealed that most Nigerians want the government to mainly focus its attention on Job creation (39 percent), Security (34 percent), Economy (30 percent) and Power supply (30 percent) amongst other sectors of the economy in 2018. This comes as no surprise considering the challenges Nigerians faced in these areas in 2017 and previous years.
For instance, unemployment in Nigeria has continued to rise and according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report on “Unemployment and Under-Employment” from 1st quarter to 3rd quarter 2017’’ released on Friday 23rd of December 2017 in Abuja, unemployment rates rose from 14.2 percent in the 4th quarter of 2016 to 16.2 percent in 2nd quarter 2017 and 18.8 percent in the 3rd quarter, 2017. In addition, many businesses regardless of the size suffered shrinkages in 2017 which affected their productivity and profitability due to the economic recession and this further translated to job losses.
Regarding security, the nation has witnessed drastic internal security challenges such as communal, religious, political and socio-economic clashes with varying degrees of casualties, killing and displacing a number of people. For instance, the most recent crisis between herdsmen and farmers occurred in some local government areas in Benue state which claimed about 70 lives and destroyed properties, leaving many people displaced from their homes. Therefore, there is an urgent need for the review of our national security policy and strategy to accommodate new dimensions of various security challenges in Nigeria.
Similarly, on power, there has been an outcry for the revival of the sector over several decades. Though the country’s power generation was at its peak of 5,152 megawatts (MW) in December 2017, it was still not adequate considering the country’s population. This calls for the need for more work to be done in the sector as this, in the long run will lead to empowerment for more Nigerians through various means; ranging from domestic level and the cottage industries, through the small-scale and medium industries to employment in the large-scale manufacturing complexes. Thus translating to the much desired economic growth and stability for Nigerians. Moreover, amidst these key areas of concern for the nation, about a third of the adult Nigerians population (33 percent) have great aspirations of starting up new businesses in 2018. Therefore, the federal government and concerned stakeholders must place a high priority on ensuring that challenges surrounding these areas are resolved to foster national development.
Finally, considering the high rates of unemployment and job losses in 2017, job creation has become pertinent as it is required to increase financial security and promote higher standards of living, which will result in increased spending thereby stimulating economic activities and also bringing down poverty and crime rates. Therefore, government must harness every opportunity to create an enabling environment for job creation. One of the better ways to achieve this is to make good use of the consolidated gains from the Economic Recovery and Growth Programme (ERGP) and also to sustain the tempo of the revenues generated from the reformed Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs). These would go a long way in creating an attractive and enabling environment for foreign investors, local business start-ups and entrepreneurs which would not only better the economy but also create employment for the masses. These are the key highlights from the New Year poll conducted in the week commencing January, 8th 2018.
The survey results revealed that majority (33 percent) of the respondents indicated that they would love to start up a new business or expand their businesses for those who already have businesses. The reason for this is not farfetched, unemployment rate skyrocketed in 2017 coupled with the hard lessons Nigerians learned during the 2017 recession; a lot of Nigerians have now realized that there is need to have alternative means of income. The result also portrayed that some Nigerians are either not employed or are not satisfied with their present state of employment as 19 percent disclosed that their goal for 2018 is getting a job or to have a change of job. Furthermore, 14 percent stated that they desire to build their own house this year. Other mentions include furthering education / improving grades at school (11 percent) and a better standard of living (7 percent) amongst others.
Trend analysis showed that in 2017, the majority (37 percent) of Nigerians indicated that their top priority was career advancement, while in 2018, attention was shifted towards starting/expanding their businesses as 33 percent made it their main goal for this year. It is thought-provoking to note that despite showing interest in starting a business, a lot of Nigerians still place importance on education. This is because in 2017, 12 percent said that they would want to further their education while in 2018, it slightly declined to 11 percent revealing a 1-point decrease.
Subsequently, findings showed that a higher percentage (39 percent) of Nigerians want the government to focus its attention towards creating more jobs in 2018. In the same manner, 34 percent expect the government to do more to better secure the lives and properties of citizens. This was followed by 30 percent who mentioned power and economy each. Other areas that Nigerians want the government to focus its attention on in 2018 include ‘Education’ (22 percent), ‘Agriculture’ (19 percent), ‘Infrastructure’ (18 percent) and ‘Reduction in fuel price’ (17 percent) amongst others.
In conclusion, the poll revealed that majority of Nigerians expect the government to focus on job creation (39 percent) and Security (34 percent) in 2018 whereas, 33 percent set a personal goal of starting or expanding their businesses in this new year. There are some positive indicators that the year would be better, for example, the rise in the international price of oil, expected higher tax revenues for the government from Federal Internal Revenue Service (FIRS), the Nigerian Customs Service and the country’s agricultural sector. Therefore, the government must ensure that these positive economic indices translate to higher quality of life for the average Nigerian.
Additionally, it is pertinent to put an end to the various security challenges that we currently face in our society, as any nation where security is breached will suffer an economic crisis due to unstable commercial activities and render it unattractive to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Additionally, the diverse security challenges in the country could be attributed to having a direct relationship with the poor quality of governance, hence, all security issues can be decimated if all the tiers of government commit to people-oriented policies and strict implementation of such.